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Watershed Management Lab


Directed by Matthew Deitch, Ph.D.

Milton, Florida

The University of Florida Watershed Management Lab is located at UF/IFAS's West Florida Research and Education Center in Milton, FL. Our research focuses on how activities across landscapes affect the health of our streams and estuaries. Most of our research focuses on watersheds and streams in the Florida Panhandle. We partner with several agencies, stakeholders, and other academic researchers in the region to improve the wellbeing of the people and ecosystems of northwest Florida.

We have several students and personnel in our lab who use state-of-the-art methods and equipment to conduct a wide range of field- and lab-based studies. Explore our research program by clicking the links or check out the latest news below.


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Interacitve Map -- Watersheds of the major estuaries of Northwest Florida

Northwest Florida's estuaries have extensive watersheds that cover several thousand square miles across multiple states. Actions in these watersheds affect Northwest Florida's estuary ecosystems and the services they provide.

Latest news from the Watershed Management Lab--

May 5, 2020

The University of Florida's Watershed Management Lab has funding to support a Ph.D. student to begin in May 2020. The student will work on a grant-funded project through Dr. Matt Deitch in the Soil and Water Sciences Department to examine the effects of restoring sloughs along the Apalachicola River, in collaboration with researchers studying riparian vegetation, mussels, and crustaceans in the river, sloughs, and the estuary downstream. Under direction of Dr. Deitch, the student will lead studies to measure water chemistry (DO, conductivity, nitrate, phosphate, TN) and hydrologic characteristics (surface and groundwater levels, flow) in sloughs, rivers, and floodplain before and after restoration to clear sand from sloughs (believed to have accumulated from historical Army Corps activities in the river)—1-2 years of data collection before and 2 years after project implementation. Extensive field work with the project team installing instrumentation, sampling channel substrate, establishing transects, and collecting data will occur throughout the warm (low-flow) season. The project will require field work under harsh conditions, collaboration with other researchers, and overnight travel to the project area. If interested, contact Matt Deitch ( for more information. Application review will begin immediately. 

March 12, 2020

The Watershed Management Lab at the University of Florida’s West Florida Research and Extension Center (WFREC) is seeking a postdoctoral associate to lead research in water quality, quantity, and watershed dynamics as they relate to the health of estuaries in Florida’s Panhandle Region. This three-year grant-funded position is located at WFREC in Milton, Florida. The project is a collaboration between UF, the University of West Florida (UWF), and regional conservation groups forming Estuary Programs in the Pensacola and Perdido Bays, Choctawhatchee Bay, and St. Andrew and St. Joseph Bays.

The UF postdoc will work closely with the Project PI at WFREC, co-PI and postdoc at UWF, and regional conservation groups to develop the scientific foundation to support long-term restoration and management strategies for estuaries in the Florida Panhandle. Research will include investigating spatial variations and temporal trends in water quality and quantity in freshwater streams; watershed modeling to examine dynamics of inputs such as nitrogen, phosphorus, and fine sediment; and collaborative ecosystem modeling to examine how inputs from watersheds and other sources affect estuary ecosystems. Research for this project requires extensive analysis of abundant local data sets. The postdoc will also take a leadership role in identifying and compiling data sets, working with Estuary Program partners and other local science and management groups.

To apply, visit  

October 31, 2019

Jiahua Zhou, Ashlynn Smith, and Matt Deitch will all be presenting at the 2019 Coastal and Estuarine Research Federation biennial meeting in Mobile, AL from November 4 through November 7. Look for photos of presenters once we return!

October 11, 2019

Drs. Eban Bean and Matt Deitch gave presentations at workshops co-sponsored by UF, UF Extension and Sea Grant, and Santa Rosa and Escambia Counties on how green infrastructure can reduce flooding and improve water quality in watersheds along Florida's Panhandle. Learn more about the project and watch a video of their presentations here.