Ag BMP Minigrant RFP Annouced

Dr. Lakesh Sharma, CLUE faculty and state BMP coordinator, announces the FDACS BMP mini-grant request for proposals for 2023. To improve BMP adoption and implementation of BMPs, FDACS has funded this mini-grant program. All University of Florida County Extension faculty may apply. Projects must be led by county faculty, who are encouraged to collaborate with state specialists on projects. Funding requests may not exceed $15,000 per project (including 24-month projects). Regional projects (more than one county) for up to $30,000 may be funded with appropriate justification, such as broad scope, multi-county applicability, and BMP implementation expansion. Submit proposals to Melissa Friedman. Proposals will be accepted by e-mail until 11:59 p.m., May 26 Friday, 2023. For further information: Please contact Dr. Lakesh Sharma, or Dr. Michael Dukes. The RFP draft is attached (pdf).

New publication from H2OSAV points to reduction in home irrigation as a good start for water conservation

We are taught to save water by turning the faucet off while we brush our teeth, or by taking shorter showers. While all efforts to save water are important, recent research indicates that water use in the home landscapes is a much larger target than more Floridians consider.

“Florida is facing a water crisis and we all have a part to play in protecting our state’s water,” said CLUE faculty Dr. Nick Taylor, UF/IFAS state specialized Extension agent and leader of H2OSAV, the program that led the study. Dr. Taylor spoke to UF/IFAS News' Tory Moore. “The work we do indoors to reduce water use is important, but what can make the greatest difference is changing how we water our landscapes.”

Dr. Taylor's study analyzed data from more than 1 million homes across nine Florida counties. They found that the average home with an irrigation system uses at least 991 gallons of water each time they water their lawn. This is equivalent to showering for more than eight hours, doing 37 loads of laundry in a high efficiency washing machine or running the dishwasher 50 times.

Results of the study can be found in the new publication from Dr. Taylor, Kaitlin Robb Price, and Bradley Spatz, "How Much Water am I Using to Irrigate My Yard?" The publication's goal is to help readers understand the magnitude of water used for a single irrigation event and encourage them to evaluate their outdoor water use.

You can read Tory Moore's feature on the study at IFAS News. You can read the publication in full at Ask IFAS.

Dr. Michael D. Dukes Receives 2023 Royce J. Tipton Award

On January 12, 2023, Dr. Michael D. Dukes, Ph.D., P.E., F.EWRI of the Florida Section was selected by ASCE’s Environmental and Water Resources Institute to receive the 2023 Royce J. Tipton Award for work contributing to improving irrigation efficiency. This award was created to recognize contributions to the advancement of irrigation and drainage engineering. The award is made to a member of the American Society of Civil Engineers or member of the Environmental & Water Resources Institute who has made a definitive contribution to the advancement of irrigation and drainage engineering management, these contributions being made either in the form of papers or other written presentations, or through notable performance, long years of service, or specific actions which have served to advance the science of irrigation and drainage engineering. This award will be presented at the Society’s 2023 World Environmental and Water Resources Congress in Henderson, NV, May 21-24, 2023.

New EDIS Publications from CLUE Faculty

CLUE affiliate faculty member Tina McIntyre and Dr. Esen Momol, along with co-authors, have published two new articles. Tina McIntyre is the Florida-Friendly Landscaping™ agent with UF/IFAS Extension Seminole County and Dr. Esen Momol is the director of the Florida-Friendly Landscaping™ program (FFL).

Pruning, Harvesting and Maintenance of Florida-Friendly Edible Landscapes covers the basics for maintaining edible landscapes that are already established. In this article, “maintenance” is defined as pruning, harvesting, watering, mulching, fertilizing, weeding, and insect management. Understanding the amount of work the gardener wants to put into their landscape will help them select plants and design their garden. Their co-authors are Seminole County research assistant Rachel Gutner, Orange County FFL agent Tiare Silvasy, and Dr. Hamutahl Cohen, commercial horticulture agent with UF/IFAS Extension Collier County.

Soil Health and Fertility of Florida-Friendly Edible Landscapes specifically addresses Florida soils and FFL Best Management Practices (BMPs) for building soil for edible plants and maintaining soil health. Their co-authors are Rachel Gutner and Tiare Silvasy.

New equine BMPs website is now live

Dr. Mary Lusk, CLUE faculty and assistant professor of soil and water at GCREC, explains that the Manure BMPs Mobile Responsive Website Project ( is a collaboration with UF Animal Sciences and provides environmentally-friendly practices for dealing with manure on small farms. Small acreage and hobby horse farms are common throughout Florida. Horse manure can be a source of excess nutrients (e.g., nitrogen and phosphorus) and pathogens to water bodies. Therefore, it is crucial that owners of these small acreage horse farms become knowledgeable of good manure management practices and use that knowledge to protect surface water bodies and drinking water wells on their property. Website users can click on “virtual assessment tool” to see how their farm scores in terms of protecting water quality in Florida. After using the assessment tool, users are given recommendations for ways they may be able to improve manure management to better protect water bodies in Florida.

A.J. Reisinger to lead study on stormwater pond benefits

CLUE faculty member Dr. A.J. Reisinger, an assistant professor in the UF/IFAS department of soil, water and ecosystem sciences is leading a multi-year project to evaluate stormwater ponds’ environmental, social and economic benefits, collectively called ecosystem services. A nearly $1.6 million grant from the National Science Foundation will fund the effort. The project team includes ecologists, water quality and algae scientists, social scientists, economists and Extension agents. This diversity of approaches will help the team generate a comprehensive picture of stormwater ponds’ benefits to people and the environment. Other CLUE faculty on the team are: Hayk Khachatryan, Paul Monaghan, Michelle Atkinson, Eban Bean, and Basil Iannone. “While stormwater ponds are very similar to natural ponds and lakes biologically speaking, the fact that they are such a visible and common part of our daily lives in Florida means that we have a lot more influence on them and that in turn influences the ecosystem services they provide,” said Reisinger. Read the full story on UF/IFAS News.

CLUE programs win multiple awards at ASHS Conference

The work of several CLUE programs was recognized this month at the 2022 American Society for Horticultural Science conference in Chicago. The Florida-Friendly Landscaping™ Program, the Master Gardener Volunteer Program, the CLUE communications team, and affiliate faculty members all received Outstanding Educational Materials awards in the Extension division. These awards recognize a single outstanding and innovative extension activity, project, or method that contributes to the horticultural (including turf) industry, such contribution being within the scope of horticultural extension activities in the broad areas of commercial production, processing and marketing, home grounds, and youth work.

The television program "Flip My Florida Yard" won for multimedia, and the "Florida-Friendly Landscaping™ in a Minute" radio spots won for outstanding podcast. The FFL website and their Bee Gardens app also won awards. "The Neighborhood Gardener" from the Master Gardener Volunteer Program won for outstanding newsletter, and MGV statewide coordinator Wendy Wilber won for her "Gardening" column in the Florida Farm and Family magazine. The CLUE communications team won for their monthly infographic series on "Edibles to Plant." The "Plant This, Not That" project, led by CLUE affiliate faculty Tina McIntyre, won outstanding bulletin. See full list with winners' names.

Urban Tree Diversity Conference is August 2-3 in St. Petersburg, Florida

Despite the tremendous diversity of trees found worldwide, urban forests continue to be dominated by relatively few species and genera. This comes at a price with regard to urban resilience which has been paid several times over given past diseases like Dutch elm disease and infestations such as emerald ash borer.

Many of the barriers to increased species diversity are artifacts of production and procurement systems, planning efforts, designs, and policies. As such, this is an issue that can be overcome with increased knowledge, facilitated communications, and targeted research. For years, the Urban Tree Diversity conference series has worked to bring real-world experts, practitioners, and leading scientist together to achieve these three needs. This fourth installment of the conference series marks the first time the event will be hosted in the United States and in the State of Florida with the University of Florida as a partnering organization.

Registration for Urban Tree Diversity 4 (UTD4) is open. Registrants can choose to attend in-person or remotely. The full conference program is available at Registration is open now.

CLUE/FFL's Cesar Peralta Part of the UF/IFAS Team Giving Inmates a Chance

Cesar Peralta, Green Industries BMPs South Regional Coordinator with the Florida-Friendly Landscaping™ Program, was part of the UF/IFAS team teaching valuable skills to inmates. In June 2021, UF/IFAS Extension Martin County entered into a funded contract with the Florida Department of Corrections to teach a series of agriculture and horticulture programs to the inmates at Martin Correctional Institution (MCI), including Green Industry Best Management Practices (GI-BMP). Each program offered graduates a certificate they could carry with them upon release from prison. For participating inmates not eligible for release, the training provided enrichment and an opportunity for positive growth. In addition to Cesar, class instructors were Christine Kelly-Begazo, UF/IFAS Extension Indian River County and Yvette Goodiel, UF/IFAS Extension Martin County. All participants passed the course, and 95% said they learned something they will apply in work or future decisions. Read the full story in the November/December issue of UF/IFAS Comings and Goings.

Chris MarbleCLUE Faculty Awarded Tenure and Promotion

Dr. S. Christopher Marble, professor of ornamental and landscape weed management at the Mid-Florida Research and Education Center in Apopka, has been awarded tenure and promoted to associate professor. Dr. Marble has been with the University since 2014. His research program focuses on the biology and management of weeds and invasive plant species in ornamental crop production and in landscapes.

Lisa Krimsky Dr. Lisa Krimsky, water resources regional specialized agent (RSA) in Fort Pierce, has been promoted with permanent status. She is part of a team of five water resource RSAs located across the state to lead and support water resource extension education programs. Dr. Krimsky's programs help solve water resource issues that are critical to the economic development and environmental protection in Florida.

The University of Florida Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences recently announced that 59 faculty members have been accorded promotion, tenure and/or permanent status by the University. The promotion-and- tenure/permanent-status process is a rigorous review of faculty members' teaching, research, and Extension accomplishments, as well as their service to the University, society, and the profession. You can see the full list of promotions on UF/IFAS Blogs.

"Designing Future Urban Forests" Special Issue of Forests

Two CLUE faculty, Dr. Basil Iannone and Dr. Ryan Klein, along with Dr. Michael Andreu, will be guest-editing a special future issue of the journal Forests on "Design Future Urban Forests." They welcome papers that address all aspects of designing, constructing, and managing built, urban landscapes and remnant urban natural areas to ensure these systems provide urbanites with the long-term benefits provided by forests. Submissions will be accepted until October 20, 2022. Visit for details and submission instruction.