Everglades Foundation earns leadership award for water technology innovation

Miami's Community Newspapers

The George Barley Water Prize, hosted by The Everglades Foundation, was named a winner of the 2019 Great Lakes Leadership Awards for Water Technology Innovation.

The Great Lakes Protection Fund recently named six organizations from the U.S. and Canada as recipients of the award, which highlights water technology innovation that addresses current threats and anticipates future challenges to water quality in the Great Lakes. In announcing the award, the Fund praised the George Barley Water Prize for its efforts to spur innovations for the benefit of the Great Lakes Basin’s people and environment.

“It is an honor to be recognized by such a prestigious award in the field of water innovation,” said Eric Eikenberg, CEO of The Everglades Foundation, based in Palmetto Bay. “The George Barley Water Prize has been one of the most impactful projects that supports the mission to reduce the harmful impact that nutrient pollution has on fresh bodies of water.

“The water prize represents our best hope for solving the algae crisis that is choking waterways worldwide and this award significantly recognizes and supports that mission,” he added.

The Fund — an innovation endowment established by the Great Lakes governors — created the Leadership Awards to celebrate efforts that accelerate new actions for protecting and improving the Great Lakes and have the potential to improve water quality on a global scale. Winners were selected for their entrepreneurial spirit and ability to bring an influx of creative ideas, citizen involvement, private capital, and collaboration to benefit the Great Lakes.

“Through the George Barley Water Prize, The Everglades Foundation is attracting innovations in water technology and putting a global spotlight on the nutrient management challenges that we must address today,” said David Rankin, executive director of the Fund, in naming The Everglades Foundation as a recipient of the 2019 Great Lakes Leadership Award for Water Technology Innovation.

“Its efforts are expanding the potential solutions to this critical problem. We look forward to the results of the Barley Prize competition and sharing in the solutions that can make the Great Lakes healthier,” he said.

The Everglades Foundation’s George Barley Water Prize is a $10 million innovation prize to develop a safe, cost-effective and scalable technology to remove toxic algae-causing phosphorus from fresh water. Modeled after the historic incentive prizes that spurred major scientific breakthroughs in the fields of aviation, genetics, and more, the Barley Prize was launched in 2016 and drew over 100 research teams and entrepreneurs from around the world.

In the summer of 2020, the competitors, which have been narrowed to four final teams and one runner-up, will compete in the final phase of the prize, known as the “Grand Challenge,” on the shore of Lake Jesup in Oviedo.

“The George Barley Water Prize has sparked so much innovation among the competitors, who are closer than ever to figuring out how to cost-effectively remove phosphorous from waterways worldwide,” said Loren Parra, director of The George Barley Water Prize. “We are honored to be recognized by the Great Lakes Protection Fund for our role in fostering the development of technology that will reduce wetland destruction, habitat loss and toxic algal blooms in lakes, rivers and oceans worldwide.”

With the award, The George Barley Water Prize received a $15,000 prize to advance its work. The Great Lakes Protection Fund plans to work with each of the winners to identify opportunities to collaborate and promote clean water technologies and solutions that will defend the Great Lakes from future threats.

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.

For more information about The Everglades Foundation, visit EvergladesFoundation.org.

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