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Great Lakes Protection Fund Lauds The Foundation’s $10 Million George Barley Water Prize 

Miami, Fla. [May 20, 2019] – 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 today named six organizations from the U.S. and Canada as recipients of the award, which highlight 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. 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,” said Eric Eikenberg, CEO of The Everglades Foundation. “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.”


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.”


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 banks of Lake Jesup in Oviedo, Florida. 

“The George Barley Water Prize has sparked so much innovation among the competitiors, who are closer than ever to figuring out how to cost-effectively remove phosphorous from water ways 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 six winners of the 2019 Great Lakes Leadership Award for Water Technology Innovation are: AquaHacking, The Cleveland Water Alliance, Current, The Everglades Foundation, Imagine H2O, and The Water Council.


For more information about the Great Lakes Leadership Awards for Water Technology Innovation, please visit

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. For more information about The Everglades Foundation, please visit






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ORLANDO, Fla. - Governor Rick Scott announced that the Florida Department of Environmental Protection and the St. Johns River Water Management District are committing up to $1 million in support for the Everglades Foundation’s George Barley Water Prize, which will award an unprecedented $10 million to the researcher or researchers capable of developing a cost-effective process for removing excess nutrient pollution from natural waterbodies. The state support for this partnership will include the use of the Lake Jesup Conservation Area as a site for the competition, technical expertise from subject matter experts, and funding to test the ability of these innovative technologies to improve water quality in Florida and around the world.


Governor Scott said, “Since I took office, we have established the nation’s most comprehensive nutrient water-quality standards and we are partnering with communities to find innovative solutions to continue to protect our environment. We’ve invested record amounts in our springs, made historic progress in Everglades restoration, and we will never stop working to protect and restore Florida’s environment.”


Eric Eikenberg, CEO of The Everglades Foundation said, “The Everglades Foundation is thrilled to have the State of Florida support the George Barley Water Prize to help solve the global problem of phosphorus pollution. We are excited that, with the support of Governor Scott, the Department of Environmental Protection, and the St. Johns River Water Management District, the solution will likely be discovered right here in Florida at Lake Jesup.”


Florida Representative Jason T. Brodeur said, “This project is a great example of what happens when we work together. I’d like to thank Governor Scott and the Everglades Foundation for supporting this important competition that will help reduce the damaging pollution in our state’s waterways.”


DEP Secretary Noah Valenstein said, “Under Governor Scott’s leadership, we continue to make historic investments in critical projects to restore the Everglades and protect Florida’s coastal communities. While we remain focused on improving water quality, and storing and moving more water south of Lake Okeechobee, we are also committed to collaborating with partners, like the Everglades Foundation, to incentivize innovative solutions that will protect waterways not only in Florida, but around the world.”


St. Johns River Water Management District Executive Director Dr. Ann Shortelle said, “We are grateful for the opportunity to provide our expertise and land at Lake Jesup for these teams to test their innovative technologies that could change the way we treat water quality concerns across our state. It’s through these types of partnerships we are able to find creative solutions to restore our natural resources for residents, visitors and future generations.”


Governor Scott has been fighting to combat the impacts of blue-green algae caused by federal water releases from Lake Okeechobee by expediting Everglades restoration projects: 

  • Accelerated 13 Everglades restoration projects, which will provide more than 600,000 acre feet of water storage and remove 27,000 pounds of phosphorous when complete. 

  • Issued an emergency order in Glades, Hendry, Lee, Martin, Okeechobee, Palm Beach and St. Lucie counties to help combat algal blooms caused by Lake Okeechobee water discharges from the Army Corps of Engineers.

  • Established a dedicated source of funding for Everglades restoration.

  • Signed into law the $880 million Everglades Restoration strategies plan.

  • Became the only Governor in Florida’s history to dedicate state funding to repair the federal Herbert Hoover Dike, investing $100 million in the project.

  • In 2014, Florida became the first state in the nation to adopt comprehensive nutrient standards for the protection of Florida’s surface waters.  

  • Adopted more water-quality standards and targets than ever before, with 150 new water restoration goals established since 2010.


The Scotts Miracle Grow Foundation is proud to be the George Barley Prize's presenting sponsor.







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MARYSVILLE, Ohio, Aug. 27, 2018 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- The Florida Department of Environmental Protection and St. John's River Water Management District announced a $1 million commitment to The George Barley Water Prize, the world's largest clean water prize, which is presented by The Scotts Miracle-Gro Foundation and sponsored by the Everglades Foundation.

In 2017, The Scotts Miracle-Gro Foundation became the presenting sponsor of the Barley Prize with the commitment to raise public awareness for the global environmental crisis caused by harmful algae blooms that are fed by excess phosphorus runoff. The Foundation's commitment came five years after The Scotts Miracle-Gro Company announced it was removing phosphorus from all of its lawn maintenance fertilizer products.

"The environmental challenges caused by algal blooms are pervasive across the U.S. again this summer, including in our home state of Ohio," said Jim King, president of The Scotts Miracle-Gro Foundation. "A problem of this scale cannot be solved by the actions of a single entity.  The participation of the State of Florida in the Barley Prize reinforces the critical nature of this research and the true power of public-private partnerships. We want to thank the state for its commitment to this effort and hope its participation encourages other state environmental agencies to follow suit."

Florida Governor Rick Scott said he was proud of the state's involvement to support scientific innovation through the Barley Water Prize.

"Since I took office, we have established the nation's most comprehensive nutrient water-quality standards and we are partnering with communities to find innovative solutions to continue to protect our environment," said Florida Governor Rick Scott. "We've invested record amounts in our springs, made historic progress in Everglades restoration, and we will never stop working to protect and restore Florida's environment."

Harmful algae blooms are now a major crisis that impact coastal communities throughout Florida as well as many other states including Ohio and New York. Currently there is no sustainable, scalable and cost-effective solution to clean up water affected by algal blooms. Excess nutrients, especially phosphorus, feed these blooms. The Barley Prize offers $10 million to the person or team that develops the most cost-effective technology to remove and repurpose phosphorus from freshwater bodies.

Describing the potential impact of the Prize, Everglades Foundation Chief Scientist Dr. Melodie Naja said, "This water prize is not just about phosphorus, it's about clean water. It's about transforming the way we solve one of humanity's greatest challenges: How to secure fresh water for future generations."

Over the last decade The Scotts Miracle-Gro Company has worked to educate consumers and ensure it's products are not contributing to local water quality challenges. The Scotts Miracle-Gro Foundation works to create more public awareness about the harmful algae bloom crisis and to fund the efforts of environmental partners across the country. In addition to support of the George Barley Water Prize, The Foundation supports coastal restoration, water research, and community education projects in critical watersheds throughout the United States.

About The Scotts Miracle-Gro Foundation

The mission of The Scotts Miracle-Gro Foundation is to inspire, connect and cultivate a community of purpose. The Foundation is deeply rooted in helping create healthier communities, empower the next generation, and preserve our planet. The Foundation is a 501(c)(3) organization that funds non-profit entities that support its core initiatives in the form of grants, endowments and multi-year capital gifts. For more information, visit

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