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Northwest Florida Water Management District bureau chief speaks at Chattahoochee Lunch and Learn
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Northwest Florida Water Management District bureau chief speaks at Chattahoochee Lunch and Learn

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Dr. Kathleen Coates, Bureau Chief of the Northwest Florida Water Management District’s Water Resource Evaluation division, was guest speaker at last Thursday’s Lunch and Learn at the Apalachicola Arsenal Museum in Chattahoochee.

Her presentation was considered the first in a series of events leading up to the start of a seven-week display on loan from the Smithsonian Institution, “Water/Ways.”

Coates spoke of the district’s overall missions and some of the particular projects underway to help protect the state’s water resources and ensure a clean and adequate supply of it.

The district oversees water use permitting, water supply planning and develops projects with local governments regarding traditional and alternative water supplies, and engages in conservation efforts toward the goal of ensuring a sustainable supply of water into the future.

Surface water improvement and management, springs restoration/protection and water-source protection through land acquisition are some key water quality strategies of the district.

The district is responsible for setting and helping ensure certain minimum flows and levels for water bodies. Ecosystem restoration is another key activity.

In Coates’ power point presentation, some of those activities were highlighted, including the ongoing restoration of Tate’s Hell in the Franklin County area.

Her presentation on water resource protection comes at a key time for the Museum. Management there is getting ready to host the Smithsonian Institution’s traveling exhibit, “Water/Ways,” which focuses on the importance of water to the planet. It starts Aug. 28 and runs through Oct. 23.

The Museum has quite a challenge in being ready for that just a few weeks from now: Because Hurricane Michael and other weather events damaged storage facilities, the museum is pretty full right now with a lot of its space in use so that those assets stay out of harm’s way.

That circumstance was a happy one for those who attended the Lunch and Learn, though: They were able to see many of the museum’s holdings at once.

Many lingered after lunch to browse and learn more about some of the pieces from Jim Folds, who was holding down the fort in a primary display room as Apalachicola Arsenal Museum Coordinator Linda Kranert finished up the day’s event.

In that room with Folds were, among other things, a Hurricane Michael display, one on fire service, another focused on the nurses down through history at Florida State Hospital, Native American-related pieces, and some on the Civil War.

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