St. Lucie Earns NACO Achievement Award

St Lucie Co 1

FORT PIERCE – For the sixth consecutive year, the St. Lucie County Board of County Commissioners earned recognition from the National Association of Counties’ (NACo) Achievement Awards program. The county earned an Achievement Award in the County Resiliency: Infrastructure, Energy & Sustainability category for its CoyoteWatch: A Florida Master Naturalist Wildlife Monitoring Program for Sea Turtle Conservation.

The CoyoteWatch Program was established in 2014 to monitor the 21 miles of coastline on Hutchinson Island that are critical nesting grounds for three species of sea turtles on the U.S. Endangered Species List. Other coastal areas of Florida have reported an increase in coyotes feeding on sea turtle nests, including areas on the Treasure Coast. In an effort to protect sea turtles, Florida Master Naturalist volunteers conducted wildlife monitoring research and educational outreach efforts regarding coyotes in St. Lucie County.

Members of St. Lucie County’s CoyoteWatch team include:

  • Marcia Kopp (Project Leader) Florida Master Naturalist
  • Ken Gioeli (Program leader) UF/IFAS Natural Resources & Environment Extension Agent for St Lucie County
  • Jerry Bott, Florida Master Naturalist
  • Luanne Hastings, Florida Master Naturalist
  • Melissa Jansen, Florida Master Naturalist
  • Erick Gill, St Lucie County Public Information Manager
  • Sherry Burroughs, Director of St. Lucie County’s Mosquito Control and Coastal Management Department

Created in 1970, the NACo’s Achievement Awards recognize innovative programs development by counties in 21 different categories. Each application is judged on its own merits and not against other applications received. Award winners were announced last week.

St. Lucie County was one of 11 Florida counties to be recognized in the 2015 Achievement Award program. During the past five years, St. Lucie County’s has received 15 Achievement Awards for its various programs and services.

The National Association of Counties (NACo) is the only national organization that represents county governments in the United States. Founded in 1935, NACo’s membership totals more than 2,000 counties, representing more than 80 percent of the nation’s population. For more information visit:

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