UF Water Institute NRLI Assistance

Dr. Carol Lippincott, Research Coordinator III with the Water Institute, assisted the UF/IFAS Natural Resources Leadership Institute (NRLI) with several sessions this spring. Dr. Lippincott is an alumnus of NRLI Class VIII. The first session, for the 2018 class of NRLI Fellows, focused on unique issues associated with management of water flowing to Blue Spring in Volusia County, an important winter refuge for manatees. Local governments and utilities in the Volusia-Blue Spring watershed are tasked with increasing water flow to the popular spring in order to increase warm-water winter refuge for manatees, while at the same time reducing polluting nitrates in the spring water. The next was a “mini-NRLI” for select staff of the Suwannee River Water Management District. Dr. Lippincott provided an overview of the history of conflict resolution and collaboration that led to completion of the Paynes Prairie Sheetflow Restoration Project. A major component of this project is the popular 225-acre constructed treatment wetland in Sweetwater Wetlands Park in Gainesville. Another “mini-NRLI” for statewide senior staff of the Florida Department of Environmental Protection focused on the watershed–scale connections between agricultural activities in the middle Suwannee basin and health of the downstream estuary at Suwannee Sound on the Gulf of Mexico. Dr. Lippincott provided an overview of how commercial and sport fisheries, as well as wading birds and sea grass communities, depend on clean fresh water flowing into the estuary from the Suwannee River. For information about the UF/IFAS Natural Resources Leadership Institute, and to apply for the 2019 class, please visit their website.