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July 23, 2008

Coastal Dune Lakes of Walton County

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Produced by: Rob Diaz de Villegas
Original Air Date: July 23, 2008

Walton County's beaches have been a boon for tourism and development. Right alongside these Florida panhandle beaches are a rarer treasure, however. These are Coastal Dune Lakes, some of the most dynamic and biodiverse ecosystems in the United States.

Sarah Kalinoski of the Choctawhatchee Basin Alliance (CBA) took dimensions on a tour of East Lake and talked about what is involved in preserving it and the other fourteen Coastal Dune Lakes in Walton County.

Formed between sand dunes as ice age glaciers made their way to the Gulf of Mexico, these lakes spill out into the Gulf when their water levels get too high, creating a brackish mix of salt and fresh water that is always changing. Each of these 15 lakes are unique from each other, and are each constantly evolving.

The Choctawhatchee Basin Alliance looks after these marvels; testing water, performing clean ups, and working with local government and citizens to ensure that development around the lakes is done with the health of the lakes in mind. As CBA Project Specialist Sarah Kalinoski explains as we tour East Lake, wetlands serve an important function not only for Florida's ecology, but in our survival as a species as well.

To become involved with the CBA, e-mail or call (850) 729-6456.

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