Press Releases

A- A A+

 EVERGLADES FOUNDATION ANNOUNCES THAT NFWF JOINS BARLEY WATER PRIZE INNOVATION AWARD: TARGET ALGAE

$10 Million to Safely, Affordably Reduce Algae-Causing Phosphorus in Waterways

[Palmetto Bay, FL], [August 31, 2017] – The Everglades Foundation today announced that the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation (NFWF) has issued a $1 million challenge grant in support of the George Barley Water Prize (www.BarleyPrize.org).  The Barley Prize is a bold freshwater science initiative, and this challenge grant from NFWF is one of the largest grants the Everglades Foundation has received in its 24-year history.

Now entering its second year, the Barley Prize incentivizes entrepreneurs, scientists, corporations and researchers to develop a cost-effective solution for removing excess phosphorus from freshwater bodies.  The winning team will receive $10 million – money that was contributed by a private donor – and will be well positioned to try to commercialize its technology to help solve one of the world’s most intractable environmental problems.

Over the course of the next 12 months, the NFWF grant will match contributions to the Barley Prize from other foundations, corporations and private donors, dollar-for-dollar, up to $1 million, providing a major source of support for the innovative four-year-long competition.

“To have the world-renowned National Fish and Wildlife Foundation join us in sponsoring the Barley Prize is a prestigious vote of confidence in our approach,” said Eric Eikenberg, CEO of the Everglades Foundation.

Already, the Scotts Miracle-Gro Foundation has come on board as the competition’s presenting sponsor, and other organizations such as the Knight Foundation and Xylem have become sponsors, as well.  Scotts has received praise for its decision several years ago to remove phosphorus from its home fertilizer products, and for its creation last year of the Water Positive Network, a working group of water-focused non-profit organizations around the U.S. working on solutions to water quantity and quality issues.

Chartered by Congress, NFWF is the nation’s largest conservation grant-maker, supporting more than 16,000 efforts in all 50 states since its founding in 1984. NFWF’s grant review practice is a highly competitive process that includes vigorous evaluations.

“We are pleased to support the Everglades Foundation’s efforts to tackle removing excess phosphorous from our nation’s freshwater bodies through the pursuit of new and innovative technology solutions,” said Jeff Trandahl, executive director and CEO, NFWF.

Phosphorus is essential to plant growth and human health — it is second only to calcium as the most common mineral found in the human body — but in waterways, excess phosphorus nurtures the growth of algae that are killing fish, destroying precious supplies of drinking water, and spoiling water quality.

According to the World Resources Institute, more than 15,000 freshwater bodies are affected by phosphorus pollution, including some on every continent.  In the U.S. alone, the estimated cost of phosphorus pollution is between $2.2 and $4.6 billion each year, as it takes a devastating toll on drinking water, ecosystems, water-dependent industries, and even real estate values.

Runoff from mankind’s excess use of phosphorus in agricultural and industrial processes is so extensive, scientists believe, that even if its use were to be eliminated altogether, there is so much of the mineral already stored in water and soil that it would continue to be a serious pollutant, creating algae blooms for decades (if not centuries) to come.  Governments across the globe have failed to come up with any large scale cost-effective method for removing the legacy phosphorus.

In the early 1700s, the Longitude Rewards helped develop the first practical method for determining a ship’s precise position at sea. In 1927, the Orteig Prize motivated Charles Lindbergh to create his nonstop solo flight across the Atlantic. In 2004, the Ansari X Prize led to the creation of the billion-dollar private space industry.

“Since no cost-effective technology now exists to reduce the flow of phosphorus,” said Eikenberg, “we are challenging the world’s brightest scientists and most talented researchers to invent one.”

In addition to the grand prize — the biggest such incentive award in history for a water competition, and one of the largest science prizes of any kind — several smaller awards will motivate researchers along the path of discovery, including prizes for the most promising developments based on laboratory testing and cold water field analysis, Eikenberg said.

The prize is named for the late George Barley, who co-founded the Everglades Foundation along with Paul Tudor Jones II.

“Already, 92 teams from 13 countries on four continents are hard at work in pursuit of solutions that they hope will result in safer, more affordable means to remove existing phosphorus in waterways,” noted Eikenberg. “For the winning team, the $10 million prize will just be a down payment on the profits that will flow once these new technologies are brought to market.”

###

 

About The Everglades Foundation

The Everglades Foundation is a 501(c)(3) non-profit dedicated to leading efforts to restore and protect the greater Everglades ecosystem. Since its founding in 1993 by a group of local outdoor enthusiasts, the Foundation has become a respected and important advocate for the sustainability of one of the world’s most unique ecosystems.

America’s Everglades is prominent among our nation’s environmental treasures. In addition to providing nearly eight million Floridians with clean and plentiful drinking water, the Everglades is home to no fewer than 77 threatened or endangered species of plant and animal life. From an economic point of view, nearly 400,000 jobs in tourism, recreation, boating, fishing, real estate and numerous other sectors depend upon – and benefit from – a healthy Everglades.

Funds raised by the Foundation are used for scientific research, advancing understanding of the Greater Everglades ecosystem and to provide grants to our conservation partners. Through environmental leadership, scientific expertise, education, and policy experience, the Everglades Foundation works to protect and restore America’s Everglades. Learn more at www.evergladesfoundation.org.

About the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation:

Chartered by Congress in 1984, the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation (NFWF) protects and restores the nation’s fish, wildlife, plants and habitats. Working with federal, corporate and individual partners, NFWF has funded more than 4,500 organizations and committed more than $3.8 billion to conservation projects. Learn more at www.nfwf.org.

Editors:

For further information and non-copyrighted, public domain B-Roll and images, visit: https://vimeo.com/141187258 (overview of the issue, narrated by Tom Brokaw), https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=x441Uz7QGwc (ScottsMiracle-Gro’s announcement), and https://vimeo.com/217777405/cf14c03a61 (summary of the first stage of the competition, presented on World Water Day 2017)

CONTACT:  Edyna Garcia – egarcia@evergladesfoundation.org

– 30 –


HELP IS ON THE WAY IN ALGAE CRISIS

97 Teams of Scientists & Entrepreneurs Racing to Find Solution,
All in Pursuit of $10-million Prize

MIAMI, Fla. (August 3, 2017) – From Australia to Israel, Indonesia and the United States, 97 teams of scientists and entrepreneurs are racing to find a solution to the algae crisis that is plaguing our local waterways, threatening freshwater bodies and drinking water supplies worldwide.

The 97 teams, from 13 different countries on 4 separate continents, are each pursuing a $10million innovation prize being offered by The Everglades Foundation (The Foundation). The George Barley Water Prize hopes to inspire development of new methods to remove algaecausing phosphorus from fresh waterways.

Phosphorus, the second most plentiful mineral in the human body, is essential to the growth of crops and plants and has long been widely used in chemical fertilizers. Its accumulation in waterways, however, is giving rise to the growth of algae, which is sometimes toxic and which always blocks sunlight from the life-giving grasses below the surface.

“Under the right conditions, when you put excess phosphorus in water and expose it to sunlight, it does what it is supposed to do – it stimulates the growth of plant material, in this case algae,” explained Dr. Melodie Naja, chief scientist for The Foundation.

“Locally and in waterways across the globe, excess phosphorus can lead to the growth of algae that kills fish and wildlife, ruins beaches and boating – and, if toxic, can pose a deadly threat to drinking water supplies across the planet,” added Dr. Naja.

No affordable, scalable means now exists for the removal of excess phosphorus, and efforts to reduce its use have been unavailing.

“We have tried litigation, legislation, regulation and education, so now we are putting our faith in innovation, hoping to inspire the world’s brightest scientific minds to find a solution” explained Eric Eikenberg, CEO of The Foundation.

The Foundation’s approach: a $10-million innovation prize to the individual scientist or team that can develop practical and cost effective methods for removal of excess phosphorus.

“Each of these teams is advancing the science and economics of phosphorus removal,” said Dr. Naja. “For the winning team, the $10-million Barley Prize will be just a small down payment on the profits to come. That’s how serious the problem is.”

Named for the late Everglades advocate George Barley, who co-founded The Foundation in 1993, the Barley Prize is modeled on the incentive prizes that encouraged Charles Lindbergh to make the first nonstop flight from New York to Paris and that led to the invention of fire extinguishers and the commercial hydraulic turbines.

“Incentive prizes like this have been used throughout the course of history to inspire innovation for transformative change,” noted Eikenberg. “We are challenging the world’s most brilliant minds to come up with the breakthrough solution that will allow us to cost-effectively remove excess phosphorus and help solve the growing algae crisis.”

There’s no time to waste. Besides affecting our local waterways, according to the World Resources Institute, more than 15,000 freshwater bodies are affected by phosphorus pollution worldwide.

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, NOAA, has now reported that satellite images confirm the existence of a growing algae bloom in Lake Erie that has the potential to reach levels not seen since 2014, when the algae jeopardized the drinking water supply of Toledo, Ohio.

Last year, Florida spent 242 days in a state of emergency after algae blooms in Lake Okeechobee threatened the state’s east and west coasts. People were seriously sickened, wildlife and pets were endangered, beaches were closed and fishing was restricted, wreaking havoc on the state’s tourism industry and local businesses.

In addition to the $10-million grand prize — the biggest such incentive award in history — a number of smaller awards are being used to motivate researchers along the path of discovery. Prizes are being awarded to the most promising developments by contestants based on laboratory testing and cold water field analysis.

Already in its second year, the Barley Prize is now entering the second stage, where competitors are testing their theories in the laboratory.

The Barley Prize is presented by the Scott’s Miracle-Gro Foundation and supported by the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation (NFWF), The Knight Foundation, Xylem and the Ontario Ministry of the Environment and Climate Change.

– 30 –

Contact Edyna Garcia, egarcia@evergladesfoundation.org, 786-249-6003


The Scotts Miracle-Gro Foundation Announced as Presenting Sponsor of The George Barley Water Prize

WEST PALM BEACH, Fla., March 22, 2017 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) — The Everglades Foundation today announced The Scotts Miracle-Gro Foundation as the presenting sponsor of The George Barley Water Prize, the world’s largest water prize offering $10 million to the person or team that develops the most costeffective technology to remove phosphorus from freshwater bodies. Together through the Barley Prize, the organizations will combat the issue of harmful algal blooms caused by excess phosphorus, which threatens the health of the Everglades and countless other freshwater bodies.

“Nutrient pollution, especially from phosphorus, is a significant and growing crisis that must be solved,” said Jim King, president of The Scotts Miracle-Gro Foundation. “Our company is proud that we became the largest fertilizer manufacturer in the world to remove phosphorus from our fertilizer products, a step we took in 2011. But we knew then, as we still do today, that our decision would have little impact on eliminating harmful algal blooms that continue to plague freshwater bodies around the world. The decision by our Foundation to announce the sponsorship of the George Barley Water Prize on World Water Day is the first step of a multi-year commitment to elevate public awareness of this issue and celebrate the innovation that will help solve it.”

To date, the Barley Prize has attracted more than 100 teams – a community of innovators, scientists and entrepreneurs – from 13 countries. Currently in Stage 1 of four stages, the grand prize will support innovative and cost-effective technologies that will benefit more than 100,000 miles of rivers and streams and close to 2.5 million acres of lakes, reservoirs and ponds.

Nutrient pollution impacts all 50 U.S. states and often threatens drinking water. It is estimated that this pollution is costing the U.S. economy $2.2 billion annually.

The Phase 1 winner was announced today at national summit titled “Global Freshwater Crisis: Impact and Innovation,” co-sponsored by The Scotts Miracle-Gro Foundation and the Everglades Foundation. Approximately 100 attendees from leading water protection entities attended the event, including Restore America’s Estuaries and the Ontario Ministry for the Environment. The Wetsus NAFRAD project – led by a group of researchers at Delft University of Technology and Wageningen University Research in the Netherlands – was named the Barley Water Prize Stage 1 Winner. The Wetsus team’s innovation technology aims to provide a total solution to nutrient pollution through a method used to recover phosphate from waterways.

Cameron Davis, Vice President at GEI Consultants, Inc, and former senior advisor to the Administrator of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and former President and CEO of The Alliance for Great Lakes, as well as the Honorable Stephen Johnson, former Administrator of the U.S. EPA under President George W. Bush, provided the group keynote remarks.

“Scotts Miracle-Gro is an innovative leader in their industry, committed to solutions. We are excited to collaborate with The Scotts Miracle-Gro Foundation in this one-of-a-kind partnership,” said Eric Eikenberg, CEO of The Everglades Foundation. “They embody exactly what The George Barley Water Prize is all about – thought leadership, innovation, and a commitment to clean water across the globe.”

“Thank you to The Knight Foundation for their sponsorship of the summit,” concluded Eikenberg.

For more information on the competition, please visit BarleyPrize.org.

About The Scotts Miracle-Gro Foundation
The Scotts Miracle-Gro Foundation is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization with a mission is to inspire, connect and cultivate communities of purpose in the areas of environmental improvement, youth empowerment, and community gardens and greenspaces. The Foundation carries out its mission by funding qualifying charitable entities that support its core initiatives in the form of grants, endowments, and multi-year capital gifts. The Foundation is deeply rooted in preserving our planet, empowering the next generation, and helping create healthier communities. For more information, visit www.scottsmiraclegrofoundation.org

About The Everglades Foundation
The Everglades Foundation is a 501(c)(3) non-profit dedicated to leading efforts to restore and protect the greater Everglades ecosystem. Since its founding in 1993 by a group of local outdoor enthusiasts, the Foundation has become a respected and important advocate for the sustainability of one of the world’s most unique ecosystems. America’s Everglades is prominent among our nation’s environmental treasures. In addition to providing nearly eight million Floridians with clean and plentiful drinking water, the Everglades is home to no fewer than 77 threatened or endangered species of plant and animal life. From an economic point of view, nearly 400,000 jobs in tourism, recreation, boating, fishing, real estate and numerous other sectors depend upon – and benefit from – a healthy Everglades. Funds raised by the Foundation are used for scientific research, advancing understanding of the Greater Everglades ecosystem and to provide grants to our conservation partners. Through environmental leadership, scientific expertise, education, and policy experience, the Everglades Foundation works to protect and restore America’s Everglades. Learn more at www.evergladesfoundation.org.

– 30 –

To learn more about the prize, the algae bloom problem or connect with our team, please contact Loren Parra at 305-251-0001 or lparra@evergladesfoundation.org.

Contact Edyna Garcia, egarcia@evergladesfoundation.org, 786-249-6003


The Everglades Foundation Officially Kicks Off Search for Algae Bloom Solution with Four-year, $10-million Prize

PALMETTO BAY, Fla., March 22, 2017 – The Everglades Foundation (The Foundation) today officially kicked off its four-year, $10-million George Barley Water Prize at the “Tapping Innovation: Breakthrough Thinking, Action & Awards” event at the Miami Science Barge, which was sponsored by the Knight Foundation, unveiling the winners of the first two phases of Stage 1 of the competition. The winners, TEAM blueXgreen and AquaCal AgBag, whose technological innovations have only been tested on a small scale thus far, could perhaps go on to win the larger prize and ultimately provide the world with a solution that could reverse the environmental damage done to water bodies as large as Lake Erie.

The winner of the first phase of Stage 1, TEAM blueXgreen, which is affiliated with the University of Idaho, proposes using N-E-W Tech™, a novel systems approach to water treatment that addresses critical concerns. Producing a nutrient up-cycled biochar biocarbon fertilizer that stores carbon for 200 years, N-EW Tech™ has the potential to be the world’s first carbon negative advanced water treatment process. To learn more about the Stage 1, Phase 1 winner, please visit http://bit.ly/2cc7lbh.

The winner of the second phase of Stage 1, AquaCal AgBag, seeks to utilize the unique physical properties of oolitic aragonite – a renewable, biogenic precipitated calcium carbonate – to sequester and uptake water born phosphorus on a global scale. By adding aragonite into animal and plant nutrition, AquaCal AgBag’s solution has the potential to mitigate the very generation of phosphorus by livestock and farming activities, while the aragonite solution has the potential to remove remaining phosphorus through a series of passive filtrations. To learn more about the Stage 1, Phase 2 winner, please visit http://bit.ly/2g89PrT.

“We’re pleased to name TEAM blueXgreen and AquaCal AgBag as the winners of the first two phases of Stage 1 of the competition,” said Eric Eikenberg, CEO of The Foundation. “Through them and the contestants from 11 countries around the globe, we are making progress towards a solution.”

“As the George Barley Water Prize nears the end of its inaugural year, we look forward to the launching of Stage 2 of the competition in January of 2017,” continued Eikenberg. “Both our winners here, along with over 100 teams from 11 countries, will be vying for recognition and an award of $25,000. We are on a quest and won’t stop until toxic algae is no longer a threat to the pristine waters of our planet.”

“Nutrients are troublesome in natural waters because they cause fish-killing toxic algae growth,” said Greg Moller, professor at the University of Idaho and the team lead of TEAM blueXgreen, who is the Stage 1, Phase 1 winner of the George Barley Water Prize, in their application video. “The N-E-W Tech™ process can produce clean and reusable water. Recovering the nutrient-enhanced biochar creates a fertilizer that can address agricultural needs, while storing carbon to manage climate change. Phosphorus is a finite resource, and the ability to recycle it will have huge implications in creating food security for the future.”

“We join The Everglades Foundation, and all of our partners in innovation, to advance the human spirit and overcome the challenges we face for a more sustainable future,” continued Moller. “We need your help, your creativity and, most importantly, your inspiration in moving all of us forward together.”

“Oolitic aragonite is biogenically renewable and is able to naturally absorb phosphorus,” said Charlie Kashiwa, president at Calcean and team lead of AquaCal AgBag. “Waters around the world today are polluted with phosphorus as a result of agricultural and livestock runoff.”

“Our innovative design uses sustainable and biogenically renewable aragonite to absorb phosphorus, bioplastics to minimize plastic pollution and creates a useable byproduct for agriculture,” said Anthony Myers, CEO of Calcean.

“We are ready to implement our design and start cleaning up our waters,” concluded Kashiwa.

”The Foundation also recognizes the Knight Foundation’s vision and leadership,” said Eikenberg. “The Knight Foundation’s support is the beginning of a strong partnership that will empower civic innovation and advancements in technology for one of the largest clean water science prize’s ever run.”

The prize competition, named in honor of the late Florida Environmentalist George Barley, is designed to incentivize free-market solutions to the increasingly urgent algae bloom problem, which impacted about 15,000 water bodies worldwide in 2016, including those in at least 20 states in the United States. The George Barley Water Prize marks the largest cash award ever offered in the field of water stewardship and has already attracted 147 teams from around the world, each striving to discover an innovative and costeffective solution to remove phosphorus from our lakes, rivers and major freshwater bodies.

For more information on the competition, please visit BarleyPrize.org.

– 30 –

To learn more about the prize, the algae bloom problem or connect with our team, please contact Loren Parra at 305-251-0001 or lparra@evergladesfoundation.org.

Contact Edyna Garcia, egarcia@evergladesfoundation.org, 786-249-6003