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Stetson’s Water Institute Receives $185,000 Florida Sea Grant

The Sandra Stetson Aquatic Center, above, houses the Institute for Water and Environmental Resilience (IWER) Field Station on the shores of Lake Beresford.

Editor’s note: This story originally was posted on Feb.29, 2020.

The Institute for Water and Environmental Resilience (IWER) at Stetson University will be making an environmental difference in Volusia County thanks to a $185,000, two-year Florida Sea Grant.

Florida Sea Grant is a university-based program that supports research, education and extension to conserve coastal resources and enhance economic opportunities for Floridians.

portrait with windows behind him
Jason Evans, PhD

IWER is partnering with the East Central Florida Regional Planning Council; Thomas Ruppert, the Florida Sea Grant program’s coastal planning specialist; and Volusia County to implement a landscape conservation and climate resilience planning project.

“The joint project provides an opportunity to develop robust recommendations for land conservation in Volusia County that account for the economic value of natural landscapes including environmental planning for flood avoidance, pollinator habitat maintenance, water storage and purification, and carbon sequestration,” said Jason Evans, PhD, interim executive director of IWER and associate professor of environmental science and studies at Stetson.

pretty shot of dunes and rising sun, orange sky.
The grant will be used to develop recommendations for land conservation in Volusia County, such as Smyrna Dunes Park in New Smyrna Beach, above, with the Ponce Inlet Lighthouse in the distance.

Grant funds will be used to employ a post-doctoral resilience modeling specialist who will implement geospatial modeling approaches for examining the landscape with mapping techniques through a partnership with Stetson University’s Brown Visiting Teacher-Scholar Fellows Program.

“I believe the Florida Sea Grant award demonstrates that IWER is recognized as a leader in resilience planning, research and implementation,” said Evans. “Having resilience planning experience and the ability to conduct a project of this magnitude in Volusia County are important aspects of the grant.”

-Sandra Carr

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