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Stewardship

Showcasing innovation and the environment

Built on more than 500 acres next to Tampa Electric's Manatee Viewing Center in Apollo Beach, the Florida Conservation and Technology Center (FCTC) will be a nexus for recreation, learning and conservation, as well as research and technology.

On 20-acres, FCTC, jointly managed by the Florida Aquarium and Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC), currently hosts three doctoral students from the University of Florida and the University of Queensland performing research on coral, sea turtles and alligators. Two University of Florida professors and staff members from the Florida Aquarium and the FWC also are participating in the research.

The Marine Youth Conservation Center, currently under construction, will be part of the FWC’s Florida Youth Conservation Centers Network, providing unique learning experiences that immerse students of all ages in hands-on exploration of Florida’s natural environment.

Breaking ground in 2016, the Animal Rescue, Research and Holding Facility will feature the Florida Aquarium's rescue and rehabilitation programs for endangered species, such as sea turtles and river otters, and facilities for research initiatives like the coral reef restoration project. The site will be an official Association of Zoos and Aquariums rescue facility.

Tampa Electric will host an Energy Technology Center, currently in the design phase, featuring outdoor exhibits demonstrating state-of-the-art energy technologies. The center will generate enough electricity to power all activities at the FCTC campus, and will serve as an important research facility, allowing for the study of emerging technologies while providing operating and maintenance data and valuable experience for Tampa Electric team members, researches and the community.

Manatee Viewing Center

The award-winning Manatee Viewing Center (MVC) opened in December 1986 and has been educating the public about the Florida manatee and its habitat ever since. Each year, during the chilly weather season, manatees flock to a canal on Tampa Bay warmed by the clean water discharge from our Big Bend Power Station. More than 300,000 visitors, including students, tourists and local citizens visit the MVC each season to see and learn about manatees. Center staff and volunteers, many of whom are TECO Energy retirees, are available to answer questions and provide additional information. The center is open daily from Nov. 1 to April 15, and is free to the public.

While the center is open, two webcams allow the public to remotely view the manatees and other marine life.

Manatee Viewing Center
Avian protection and protected species

Tampa Electric's service area is located amid one of the nation's most important avian migration thruways, and is home to seasonal nesting sites for dozens of bird species. In 2004, Tampa Electric expanded our Osprey program (initiated in 1988) to become an overall Avian Protection program. The company's award-winning program is designed to help prevent large birds of prey, such as ospreys and hawks, from electrocution and collisions with electric infrastructure, and to guide the company on nest removal and relocation for all species of birds.

This program helps Tampa Electric identify at-risk species of birds, document birds using high-risk electric equipment, recommend appropriate equipment retrofits to minimize electrocution risk and develop bird-friendly standards for new construction. It has identified potential problem areas based on field surveys within our service area. The company continues to relocate osprey nests that pose a threat to the nests, birds, structures, lines or service.

Tampa Electric also has donated nesting sites within our service area and worked with the city of Tampa to install four nesting sites in city parks, as well as 10 nesting platforms in six Hillsborough County preserves.

A visionary public-private partnership
Environmental Center

 

Adjacent to Tampa Electric's Manatee Viewing Center in Apollo Beach, Fla., the Florida Conservation and Technology Center, currently under construction, will be free to the public will serve as a nexus for recreation, learning and conservation, as well as research and technology.

The Energy Technology Center will showcase outdoor exhibits demonstrating state-of-the-art energy technologies. The Energy Technology Center also will serve as an important research facility and will allow universities the opportunity to study emerging technologies, while providing Tampa Electric with operating and maintenance data..

The Center for Conservation, jointly managed by The Florida Aquarium and Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWCC), will engage and educate visitors about the vital connections between Florida's waters, plants and fish.

The Marine Youth Conservation Center will be part of FWCC's Florida Youth Conservation Centers Network and will provide unique learning experiences that immerse students of all grade levels in hands-on exploration of Florida's natural environment.

The Animal Rescue, Research and Holding Facility will feature The Florida Aquarium's rescue and rehabilitation programs for endangered species, such as sea turtles and river otters, and new research facilities for the aquarium's research initiatives, like the coral reef restoration project. The site will be an official Association of Zoos and Aquariums rescue facility.

A saltwater fish hatchery, operated by FWCC as a part of its Florida Marine Fisheries Enhancement Initiative, will incorporate new energy-efficient technology to raise sport fish for stocking Florida waters.

Interpretive trails will allow visitors to walk, canoe and kayak throughout the park to immerse themselves in natural environments.

Catch and release fishing programs, offered by The Florida Aquarium and FWCC, will be available for all ages at the FCTC.

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