Date: Tuesday, March 10
Time: 7 PM – 8:30 PM
Location: Unitarian Universalist Congregation of Venice
1971 Pinebrook Rd, Venice, Florida 34292
Building Community Understanding and Management of Nutrients for Healthy Water
Throughout the State of Florida, increasing nutrient levels in waterways are adversely impacting the balance of natural biology—reducing the productivity of estuaries while increasing the growth of harmful and toxic algae blooms. Recognizing this challenge, in 2019, the Gulf Coast Community Foundation embarked on an ongoing effort to develop a blueprint or playbook that can be adapted and customized by communities using the Sarasota County region in southwest Florida as a template. This playbook aims to engage stakeholders at the grassroots level not traditionally involved in water quality management and provide a conduit by which they can engage with and add value to existing programs and initiatives. The playbook is not meant to replace, contradict, or preempt existing management plans, but instead aims to focus, prioritize, and coordinate community activity and philanthropy at the grassroots level to accomplish water quality improvements in Sarasota County. Speakers: Jon Thaxton, Gulf Coast Community Foundation & Stephen Suau, Progressive Water Resources Jon Thaxton has been with the Gulf Coast Community Foundation since 2012 and is currently Senior Vice President for Community Investment. Prior to that, he served as a Sarasota County Commissioner for 12 years. Jon has provided critical leadership on behalf of Gulf Coast in our community’s creation of a system of care for homeless children and families, and he is part of the cross-sector team that is adapting that model to effectively house and support unaccompanied homeless youth and chronically homeless adults. Other transformative projects in which Jon plays a key role include community-driven efforts to extend the multiuse recreational Legacy Trail in Sarasota County and to sustainably redevelop the Sarasota Bayfront. Jon is also recognized throughout Florida as a leading advocate for protecting the natural environment. A fifth-generation Floridian, he was raised on a farm near Osprey and began working at his family’s real estate company at 14. Jon began his environmental at Venice High School in 1974 as a founding member of the Ecology Club, and in 1996 he was featured in National Geographic for his efforts to protect endangered species. Steve Suau is a professional engineer with over 35 years of experience in both the public and private sectors in southwest Florida. He is a resident of Sarasota County and currently is a founding principal of a local water resources consulting firm, Progressive Water Resources, LLC. Steve previously served as Executive Director of Sarasota County’s Planning and Development Business Center and Director of Sarasota County’s Stormwater Program where he was architect of the dynamic floodplain models, the Celery Fields/Fruitville Initiative integrated plan, and the Dona Bay Watershed Management Plan. Steve has a Bachelor’s of Science degree from the University of Illinois in Civil Engineering and a Masters in Engineering Administration from Bradley University. Recently, he also served as the Southwest Florida areas representative on the Technical Advisory Committee for the proposed State Stormwater Rule and is a member of the Technical Advisory Committee for the Charlotte Harbor National Estuary Program.