Southern Regional Water Program

Research, Extension & Education Water Quality Programs through the Land Grant University System

Environmental Restoration in Florida

fler1.gifThe Institute of Food and Agricultural Science (IFAS) at the University of Florida is actively involved in environmental restoration projects around the state of Florida. Most notable of these projects are the high profile multi-agency efforts in South Florida, focusing on ecological and water quality restoration of the Everglades and Lake Okeechobee. There are, however, a number of additional areas in Florida for which IFAS has/is providing leadership and assistance for environmental restoration to improve water quality in our state, including the Indian River Lagoon and St. Johns River Basin. Research, extension and education programs all play key roles in the overall water quality restoration effort in Florida.

Conditions In Your Watershed

The Environmental Protection Agency maintains a directory of Florida river corridor and wetlands restoration projects.

Resources and Programs

The University of Florida provides research, education and extension resources to assist state and federal agencies, business and industry, communities and individual citizens in addressing water quality concerns. These programs are designed to provide information for specific audiences, such as farmers, homeowners and youth.

The University of Florida has established programs designed to provide assistance with environmental restoration. Below are some key links to information and resources available to assist you.

Extension Outreach

The University of Florida is home to Florida Cooperative Extension Service, which develops and delivers programs designed to provide educational outreach into all counties of the state. Outreach education enables the research developed at colleges and universities and from other sources throughout the world to be interpreted and delivered to the end user, which is often a home or business owner or agricultural producer. Some of the major Extension education programs addressing environmental restoration are:

Florida Sea Grant and the Cooperative Extension Service are outreach partners for thefler2.jpg South Florida Ecosystem Restoration Project, providing science-based communication to scientists, resource managers, and the public through the Florida Bay Education Project. The health and viability of the Florida Bay ecosystem is tied to, and inextricably intertwined with, the Everglades restoration effort.

The Wetlands and Water Quality Extension ProgramM at the University of Florida operates under the auspices of the Cooperative Extension Service (CES) of the Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences (IFAS), and is based in the Wetland Biogeochemistry Laboratory of the Soil and Water Science Department. The emphasis of the program is on the role of wetlands in controlling or enhancing water quality. More specifically, the program addresses wetland restoration, wetland resource management and land use, wetlands-related best management practices and constructed wetlands. Extension provides valuable technical resources to local citizens’ groups, as well as local elected officials, and planners and agencies.

fler3.jpgThe Florida Cooperative Extension Service has prepared factsheets for EQIP (Natural Resources Conservation Service Environmental Quality Incentive Program) and maintains links to Conservation Practice Job Sheets for particular conservation practices, including development of riparian forest buffers. These links may also be accessed through the Water Quality Decision Support Systems Laboratory webpage maintained by the Soil and Water Science Department.

Coordinated through the University of Florida's Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences/Department of Fisheries and Aquatic Sciences, LAKEWATCH is one of the largest lake monitoring programs in the nation. LAKEWATCH baseline condition and monitoring data can provide information needed for lake restoration decisions.

Scientific Research

Researchers at the University of Florida’s Department of Soil and Water Science fler4.jpgWetland Biogeochemistry Laboratory investigate and develop new technologies to advance environmental restoration. Some examples of major research efforts include:

Restoration research is also conducted through the Hydrology and Water Quality Program in the Department of Agricultural and Biological Engineering at the University of Florida.

College and University Education

Youth and continuing adult education are critical to develop new talent and human resources to address the water quality issues of the future. Educational curricula in environmental restoration are available within several departments at the University of Florida. Key departments include:

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