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Faculty Grant-Supported Research

  • Kirsten Work | Blue Springs Resource Value Monitoring | funding through SJRWMD
  • Melissa Gibbs | Blue Springs Resource Value Monitoring| funding through SJRWMD
  • Jason Evans | Sea Level Rise | funding through Sea Grant

Blue Spring Resource Value Monitoring

Blue Spring is the largest spring on the St. Johns River, and globally important as a significant winter refuge for the West Indian Manatee. While the spring is protected by Blue Spring State Park, threats to the overall springshed are a major concern.

Students on Boat

The St. Johns River Water Management District (SJRWMD) established minimum flows and levels for the spring in 2006. In 2013, the district adopted the Blue Spring Action Plan to guide adaptive management for compliance with the minimum flows and levels requirements. Monitoring is an integral part of the implementation process, by providing data required to reduce uncertainties and to allow for modification of the Action Plan as needed to ensure protection of the springs and unique flora and fauna.

Stetson University is within the Blue Spring springshed, and faculty and students are part of the ongoing monitoring activities to protect the springs. Dr. Melissa Gibbs and Dr. Kirsten Work have been involved with the Blue Spring Alliance, and have led faculty and student research at the spring.

SJRWMD has provided a multi-year grant to Stetson University for Blue Springs monitoring, including regular quantitative surveys of fish populations in the spring and spring run, quarterly collections of snails for determination of density by species, and quarterly semi-quantitative surveys of benthic algae and submerged aquatic vegetation. These studies help guide restoration strategies for the springs and have documented adverse impact of exotic armored catfish on endangered manatees.

More Information

» Catfish, turtles provide research opportunities for Stetson faculty, students

» Blue Springs Protection Initiative Science Biology Workgroup

2013 National Sea Grant Community
Climate Adaptation Initiative
St. Marys, GA and Hyde County, NC

This project leverages capacity among researchers at Georgia Sea Grant, North Carolina Sea Grant, and Stetson University to provide climate resilience support to the local governments of St. Marys, GA and Hyde County, NC.

St. Marys is an historic coastal city located on the Florida/Georgia border that serves as the gateway to Cumberland Island National Seashore, and is adjacent to the Kings Bay Naval Submarine Base. The research team is providing recommendations for a 50-year adaptation plan to sea level rise in St. Marys using a combination of green infrastructure and enhanced floodplain management through FEMA's Community Rating System (CRS).

Hyde County is a sparsely populated coastal community that has high exposure to storm surges and other coastal flooding events. The research team is working with Hyde County officials and stakeholders to develop better understanding of saltwater intrusion into agricultural fields, options for retrofitting vulnerable structures, and green infrastructure tools for longterm adaptation to sea level rise.

GreenKeys and Islamorada Matters

These projects are a partnership between Erin Deady, PA, Stetson University, The Nature Conservancy, and Florida Sea Grant to develop climate change and sea level rise adaptation plans for unincorporated Monroe County and the Village of Islamorada in the Florida Keys. These projects are funded by the Monroe County Board of County Commissioners and the Islamorada Village Council.