The Northwest Florida Water Management District will explore potential impacts of rising sea levels on aquatic resources in partnership with the University of Central Florida (UCF) and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA).

According to a news release, the District Governing Board agreed to accept $215,000 in a federal grant to fund the District’s participation in the development and use of sea level rise tools over the next five years.

“The District will help coastal resource managers apply the tools developed as part of the research conducted by UCF. These tools are intended to identify potential consequences of sea level rise and adjust plans to protect, preserve and restore critical resources under their care,” said Graham Lewis, senior environmental scientist in the District’s Resource Management Division, quoted in the release.

“Models to be adapted include those the District has developed for its ongoing coastal flood hazard mapping study as well as three-dimensional salinity transport models for analysis of freshwater needs,” said Ron Bartel, director of the Division of Resource Management. “The study will also make use of recently collected LiDAR (detailed elevation data) as well as other water resources data the District has to offer through its Geographical Information System.”

The District is expected to coordinate and share technical information obtained during the study with the management agencies and staff of UCF and NOAA, the release said.

“This gives the District a unique opportunity to interact with sea level rise researchers and ensure that the research is practical and transferrable to our local coastal communities” said Douglas Barr, district executive director.

The District will provide a liaison, outreach, and oversight between the project researchers and resource managers, according to the scope of work. A total of $46,100 will be received during the first year. The District will provide $10,000 as in-kind match over the five-year period. The match funds are primarily for arranging outreach meetings along the Panhandle through its Surface Water Improvement and Management program, the release said.

Source: The Walton Sun, District to partner in rising sea level studies, September 24, 2010 11:43 AM