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2013 Top-Rated Nonprofit

Rainbow River Conservation Inc

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Nonprofit Overview

Causes: Environment, Natural Resources Conservation & Protection

Mission: Protect and preserve the water quality, the natural beauty, the riverbed, and the storm water basins of the Rainbow River through education, conservation, stewardship and advocacy.

Results: * Produced the 2013 Rainbow River Restoration Plan outlining key goals to protect and preserve the river which will serve as a key reference to state efforts to improve conditions in the endangered Rainbow springs and river system. *Wrote successful proposal to the Florida Forever Program of Florida DEP Division of State Lands for a land acquisition program along the Rainbow River to preserve water quality and natural habitat for the vast array of birds and aquatic wildlife, including endangered species. *Constructed and maintains 47 Wood Duck boxes on the Rainbow, producing more than 4000 chicks in 15 years. *Produced a 6-year survey illustrating more than 60 species of birds in the Rainbow Springs system. *Successfully nominated the Rainbow River for the Great Florida Birding Trail. *Assisted the City of Dunnellon in writing its updated Comprehensive Plan and Tree Protection Ordinance. *Is cited as the premier citizen advocacy and education group for the Rainbow River. *Conducts an annual Rainbow River Cleanup Day with hundreds of volunteers. *Provides volunteers for Marion County Sheriff River Watch Program as well as most Dunnellon city and countywide events. *Offers several presentations to group on attracting birds, butterflies and Florida-friendly landscaping. Too many more to list.

Target demographics: protect and preserve the Rainbow River.

Direct beneficiaries per year: 300,000 recreational users of the Rainbow River, the City of Dunnellon, Marion County Parks and Recreation, Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commisson, among others.

Geographic areas served: Florida

Programs: education, conservation, advocacy and stewardship.

Community Stories

11 Stories from Volunteers, Donors & Supporters

Board Member

Rating: 5

When we bought our property near Dunnellon in the early 1970's, we weren't aware of what a treasure the Rainbow River was to the area. We soon found out! Not long after we moved here in 1986 a neighbor suggested we join RRC. That was the beginning of an association that continues to this day. I have served on the board for many years, and have been president and vice-president for several terms. I shudder to think what our treasure might be like if our group hadn't been so diligent in "serving and protecting" the river. At the present time we are fighting a threat that we feel would do irreparable harm to the river, in the form of a large development alongside the river. Unfortunately the present political atmosphere is not favorable to environmental protection, due to the economic issues we have all just gone through. Thank goodness for groups like ours that have stood up for the environment in Florida!

Review from Guidestar

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Living in Dunnellon and being a member of the Rainbow River Conservation is like saying one and the same thing. I moved to Dunnellon to be close to the Rainbow River and to allow my children and grandchildren the opportunity of splashing in the cool water, playing in the sparkling springs, and to commune with nature. I owe it to the rich life-style afforded by such a natural treasure to help to secure it for future generations. I know by participating in the Rainbow River Conservation Club that I am contributing to the protection and the safe keeping of this unique and fragile river and spring. It’s a wonderful feeling, along with like-minded people, to protect and defend this natural resource for all time. The members of the Rainbow River Conservation Inc work tirelessly to advocate for the river system and its habitat. Now that’s a Good Thing!

Review from Guidestar

Donor

Rating: 5

RRC's active members support educational measures and advocate protection and restoration of the river system ecology, and its importance as a recreational resource and nursery for fish, ducks and other wildlife, but the organization does more than just preach. It sponsors an annual river trash cleanup and duck nest box program and has helped obtain and administer grants to purchase and develop Dunnellon's Blue Run Park and a River Restoration Action Plan. Its studies and efforts and the rules it helped bring into being are helping maintain water quality that is the key to continued public enjoyment of the river while mitigating the impacts of heavy recreational use. RRC has worked with the city, water management district and state DEP on measures to enhance the ecosystem. It is questioning the effects of groundwater pumping on declining spring flows, and has joined a coalition of organizations and individuals named "Save Our Springs -- Nature's Original Wealth" (SOS NOW), working for changes in state environmental policy linking degradation of waters to decisions on minimum flow levels. Despite its efforts to work with all levels of government, RRC has entered into litigation to overturn what it sees as an unsound development plan for riverfront property approved by the city of Dunnellon.

2

Board Member

Rating: 5

I have been a board member and volunteer of Rainbow River Conservation for over 20 years. We (meaning the organization and our community) have developed and managed numerous programs that would assist in promoting and managing the survival of our precious river, the Rainbow. We have also been proactive in surrounding communities to assist and understand needs in regard to saving their rivers as well. There is much to be done to keep our environment available to future generations and our organization is dedicating themselves to this effort.

1

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

I am writing this review on behalf of my father who passed away last year. My father was an active environmentalist throughout his lifetime and was a member of many environmental organizations within the United States including Rainbow River Conversation Inc. Rainbow River Conservation Inc supports preserving the natural beauty and integrity of Florida's fragile waterways and does a wonderful job of informing the public of issues important to this effort. I strongly support this grassroots organization and it mission statement.

Review from Guidestar

1

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

My family has joined the Rainbow Rivers Conservation for their annual River Clean Up every year since 1998. The volunteers who organize the event are extremely helpful and encouraging to all who come out to clean the river. They supply a family fun picnic with awards in various areas of debris collection!
I do not always have time to attend all of the events they sponsor...and I am glad the people who run the group take care of the river for all of us to enjoy!

1 Elizabeth123

Donor

Rating: 5

This is an excellent organization. It supports habitat conservation, advocates for environmental issues, forwards and sponsors many educational programs and provides opportunities for volunteer work in river care. This is a real grass roots organization and very on top of key spring preservation science and advocacy.

Review from Guidestar

2

Board Member

Rating: 5

The Rainbow River Conservation group has and continues to be a champion for the Rainbow Spring and has created important alliances with many other conservation-minded groups for the protection of Florida's springs and rivers. Focused on the absolute necessity for healthy groundwater and surface-water ecosystems, the Rainbow River Conservation group is very active in developing river protection policy both locally and at the statewide level. Nearly twenty years ago, this group was very influential in enacting a no-disposable container law on the Rainbow Spring, one of the first of its kind in the nation. The group also sponsors a Spring cleanup day on the Rainbow every May. I am proud to have been a part of the Rainbow River cleanup for more than a decade and honored to be a member of the RRC!

3

Volunteer

Rating: 5

R.R.C. while dedicated to the protection of Rainbow River many of the educational projects undertaken help by creating a greater understanding of the importance of all of Florida's springs. This included work with a local school system in which the students produced and presented an educational program on the importance of protecting water globally as well as locally. The also worked with local schools enabling students to produce bat boxes to control mosquitoes in an environmentally friendly way and have provided a local Boy Scout group with the opportunity to organize and carry out public service projects.

The organization has advocated for sound recreational use of Rainbow Springs and River. As a part of this effort it has produced an amazing and beautiful underwater DVD of the river . The dedicated volunteer efforts of members has lead to the development of a park on the shore of the Rainbow River allowing locals and visitors alike to enjoy this beautiful river. Members have planted native vegetation back into the shoreline of the river and advocated for regulation to prevent harmful runoff into the river from adjacent roadways and lands. They host an annual cleanup of the river and ongoing education which has resulted in progressively less trash being found in spite of increased usage of the river.

The Rainbow River Conservation organization is a great example of what “grass roots” involvement can do .

Review from Guidestar

5

Volunteer

Rating: 5

This organization is focused on the Rainbow River fed by the second largest spring in Florida. Members have advocated to acquire undeveloped property along the river to enhance the natural beauty and habitat of the aquatic preserve and river. RRC is active with FDEP and SWFWMD district organizations in advocating for programs the will enhance the river.

Rainbow River Conservation organizes the river clean up in May of each year to sweep the river of trash and keep it looking beautiful. They also have worked with State and County governments to bring physical improvements to improve the water and habitat of the river.

The Wood Duck project has mounted 47 Wood Duck nesting boxes on poles in the river to encourage the nesting of these beautiful ducks on the river. These nest boxes have been over 95 % productive in having nesting pairs and broods of ducks born and enjoying the river.

Every special Florida Natural Resource should have an organization like Rainbow River Conservation that is focused on keeping the resource from being damaged by pollution or over development.

Review from Guidestar

3

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Has accomplished more without paid staff and less money than most organizations with far greater income and personnel.
Dedicated volunteers representing a variety of professional disciplines.

Review from Guidestar