Coastal Training Program (CTP)

Bridging the gap between science and application

The mission of CTP is to provide the most up-to-date scientific information and skill building tools, such as trainings,  to key professionals (i.e.: local officials, land managers, natural resource managers, community planners, and coastal business owners) responsible for making decisions about coastal resources.

Invasive and Native Plants

An invasive plant is an introduced species of plant that usually comes from another place (state, country, continent, ocean; not all non-native species are considered invasive) and aggressively expands, becoming a problem in its new location by impacting human health, the economy, and/ or the environment.

Invasive plants can spread in numerous ways including seeds in nursery plants and soils, misidentification, foreign ships entering ports, fruits and flowers brought home by travelers, or landscaping, boat trailers, propellers, etc. not properly cleaned before or after transportation.

Workshops and Trainings

The GTM Research Reserve’s CTP Coordinator serves as co-chair for the First Coast Invasives Working Group, coordinating on regional invasive species issues. GTM Research Reserve staff can provide workshops on invasive plants and native alternatives for landscaping to interested groups including HOAs, landscape companies, and citizen organizations. Please contact the CTP Coordinator if you would like them to provide a workshop for your group.

Technical Assistance

CTP also provides technical assistance to landowners on the identification and removal of invasive species. If you believe that you have an invasive plant species on your property and would like assistance with proper identification, removal, and control steps, contact the CTP Coordinator to schedule a site assessment.

Low-Impact Development: Volume Reduction

Low-Impact Development is an innovative stormwater management approach with a basic principle that the land will mimic the natural water flow of the watershed. These stormwater management approaches are essential especially in communities where urban development has altered the natural water flow. Stormwater runs off of rooftops, driveways, lawns, parking lots, and other surfaces into stormwater drains, bringing pollutants, nutrients, and bacteria into coastal waters. By utilizing low-impact development techniques, stormwater runoff can be significantly reduced, which reduces the amount of pollutants within our coastal waters.   The Coastal Training Program offers workshops and training materials for city planners, developers, engineers, and stormwater managers. If you are interested in the upcoming October 13-14, 2016 workshop, email Tina Gordon.   Learn more about Low-Impact Development.

 Green Industry Best Management Practices

This program is built upon a partnership among CTP, the University of Florida Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences (UF-IFAS), the Florida Department of Environmental Protection (FDEP) and the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services (FDACS), and industry professionals. This is an intensive effort to train all landscaping professionals on best management practices for the application of fertilizers in urban areas. The goal of this program is to improve water quality by addressing this leading cause of non-point source pollution in a pro-active way. For more information and a list of certified professionals, please  visit this website and see our staff page for the regional coordinator’s contact information.

Coastal Resiliency Recommended Resources

"Coastal resilience means building the ability of a community to "bounce back" after hazardous events such as hurricanes, coastal storms, and flooding – rather than simply reacting to impacts," NOAA, 2015.

Living Shorelines

Currently being developed. Check back shortly for information and training focused on Living Shorelines.

State of the Reserve

The GTM Research Reserve hosts a "State of the Reserve" symposium annually. The symposium provides an opportunity to reserve staff, reserve volunteers, visiting investigators, and partners to share their progress and results of their research within the GTM Research Reserve boundaries. Each year a theme guides the project presentations. Projects can be shared through oral presentations as well as poster presentations. While the research presentations are scientific and technical, the "State of the Reserve" symposium has a family oriented component where visitors can learn about the various citizen science projects within the GTM Research Reserve boundaries as well workshops to share habitats of environmental stewards.   The "State of the Reserve" symposium will occur Friday, February 3, 2017. Check back for registration information.

Past State of the Reserve Symposiums

  • 2016: "Ecosystem Services"
  • 2015: "Science to Management"
  • 2014: "Changing Tides"
  • 2013: "Preserving Public Lands to Sustain Healthy Communities"
  • 2011: "Managing Partners"
  • 2010: "Celebrating the 10th Anniversary of the Reserve"

Key Projects

Planning For Sea Level Rise In The Matanzas Basin: Opportunities for Adaptation

Together with the University of Florida’s College of Design, Construction and Planning and a 14-member stakeholder steering committee, the GTM Research Reserve completed a project working with Matanzas Basin stakeholders to plan for sea level rise in a way that protects communities and the environments they depend on for quality of life and commerce. The three year project was funded by the National Estuarine Research Reserve Science Collaborative grant and was completed in 2015 resulting in a 304-page findings document including 13 appendices of the methods, findings, strategies, and GIS data.

The study site included 264,000 acres with a population of approximately 150,000 people within St. Johns and Flagler counties. Within that study site, there were 29,500 acres of the GTM Research Reserve’s southern component which includes the estuarine environment and nine conservation areas. The study site of the Matanzas Basin is rich in biodiversity and provides habitat to species including gopher tortoises, wading and shorebirds, manatees, dolphins, and black bears. The basin has environmental and cultural significance and provides important ecosystem services to the area residents and businesses.

Information regarding the project including vulnerability assessments, concerns, and additional findings can be found on the project website:

Coastal Wildlife Conservation Initiative (CWCI)

This Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) initiative has developed regional working groups to address coastal wildlife conservation issues. It is important to understand the impacts to wildlife that driving on the beach has. Several species of wildlife that nest and have habitat on local beaches to consider when beach driving include: Leatherback sea turtles, Green sea turtles, Loggerhead sea turtles, Least Terns, Black Skimmers, Wilson’s Plover, Royal Terns, and Laughing Gulls.

In order to support this effort, the GTM Research Reserve has developed an online Beach Driving Awareness Course that is being used by local municipalities to train staff in safe beach driving and lessen environmental impacts. Please see the FWC CWCI website for more information.