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Watershed Management Lab

Current Projects

The research we conduct in the Watershed Management Lab examines how decisions about land use and water use affect aquatic ecosystems and the services they provide. We also consider possible future scenarios with a goal of helping to support future decision-making. Most (but not all) of our research examines these topics in northwest Florida.

a street that is flooded

Enhancing community resilience in Florida Panhandle watersheds

Surface flooding and poor water quality threaten community resilience in places such as northwest Florida. We are investigating what communities can do to reduce flooding potential and improve water quality in freshwater bodies.

oyster beds in the Suwannee River Estuary

Sea level and salinity in coastal estuaries

Sea level rise and hydrologic variability will have complex effects on estuaries in places like Florida’s Gulf Coast. We’re using statistical models and hydrodynamic models to examine how higher sea levels may cause estuaries to become more saline, changing the spatial distribution of plants and animals living in estuaries.

forest and woody understory vegetation

Hydrology and water chemistry in wet prairies

Conservation advocates in northwest Florida need better information documenting the benefit of wet prairie restoration. We’ve installed grids of monitoring wells to examine how water level and water chemistry change following restoration.

So far, our work demonstrates how fire suppression has led to higher nutrients in shallow groundwater.

Regional-Scale Adaptation Planning

Nature-based projects provide capacity to mitigate effects of development on communities and ecosystems. We're working with Santa Rosa County, Florida to prioritize and site nature-based projects that will help adapt communities to changes in hydrologic dynamics in the coming decades.

A slough along the Apalachicola River

Restoring Sloughs along the Apalachicola River

Sloughs and other low-velocity areas of river systems such as the Apalachicola River provide important refuge habitat for several organisms, yet mismanagement of the river system has caused many of these sloughs to fill with sand. We’re examining how restoration of sloughs will benefit water quality in these important ecosystems.

photo of a stream lined with trees

Water Quality in Urban Panhandle Streams

Healthy stream ecosystems play an important role in supporting fisheries, recreation, and tourism in the Gulf Coast region. We’re collecting streamflow and water samples during high-flow events to quantify pollutant loads from urban areas. Our work is demonstrating that urban areas of Florida’s Panhandle region are a major source of nutrient loads into local bayous and estuaries.

map showing green infrastucture benefits to a drainage network

Green Infrastructure Modeling

Innovative methods are needed to treat urban stormwater in the 21st Century. Green infrastructure, which mimics natural processes, can mitigate adverse hydrology and chemistry in streams. We use GIS tools to model the benefits of green infrastructure.

Our work is demonstrating that techniques such as rainwater harvesting can reduce flooding in some urban drainage networks.

Perdido Pensacola Wetlands

Estuarine wetlands of the Perdido and Pensacola Bay Systems are extensive and vast ecosystems that play a critical role in sustaining the health and wellbeing of communities in the region. We have partnered with the Pensacola and Perdido Bays Estuary Program to implement an assessment of the estuarine wetlands in the region.

oranges

CITRUS

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Collaborative Estuary Management

Collaborative nonregulatory programs represent an important tool for improving the health of ecosystems worldwide. We are partnering with the University of West Florida and Estuary Programs along Florida's northern Gulf Coast to identify projects to improve the health of esutaries and the communities that depend on them for wellbeing.

View Details Link coming soon!

lawn and garden

GARDENING

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