A Sustainable Approach to Preserve the Choctawhatchee Coastal Dune Lakes of FloridaEPA Grant Number: SU833550
Title: A Sustainable Approach to Preserve the Choctawhatchee Coastal Dune Lakes of Florida
Investigators: Jawitz, James W. , Bhadha, Jehangir H.
Current Investigators: Jawitz, James W. , Bhadha, Jehangir H. , Brenner, Mark , Brown, Gordon , Bunch, Aaron , Kaplan, David
Institution: University of Florida
EPA Project Officer: Nolt-Helms, Cynthia
Project Period: September 30, 2007 through March 31, 2008
Project Amount: $9,941
RFA: P3 Awards: A National Student Design Competition for Sustainability Focusing on People, Prosperity and the Planet (2007) RFA Text | Recipients Lists
Research Category: Nanotechnology , Pollution Prevention/Sustainable Development , P3 Challenge Area - Water , P3 Awards , Sustainability
Coastal dune lakes are fresh water basins that are delicately perched above the coastal salt water fringe, making them wonderfully unique locations all over the world. Over the past decade, a series of such lakes in the Choctawhatchee basin of Florida’s panhandle has attracted vast urban development. With changing land-use practices, these lakes are under a constant threat of deteriorating water quality and loss of a diverse ecosystem. As a result, these lakes have been identified as globally rare and imperiled (S1/G2) by the Florida Natural Areas Inventory. Only a few hundred such lakes are in existence world wide, and similar ecosystems can only be found in the Florida Panhandle, Madagascar, Australia, New Zealand and the Northwest Pacific Coast of the United States. The U.S. lakes are almost exclusively found along the Gulf Coast.
In an attempt to preserve these lakes from degradation, we pose (a) to survey these lakes so as to produce a baseline against which any future anthropogenic impacts may be compared; (b) based on the survey, suggest alternative management/land-use practice strategies that strikes a balance between the natural ecosystem and the communities that live around it. Surveying will include tasks such as identify and map the lakes; locate sources of potential water pollutants, and collect data, including hydrology, water quality, soil/sediment, vegetation, animal habitation, and land-use practices.
Evaluating the results will help prepare a project design. This will include suggestions for implementation of alternative urban building products, such as grass-pavements; landscaping strategies, including introducing native aquatic vegetation; and land management practices, such as constructing wetlands or water retention ponds. These are only a few ideas that future Choctawhatchee basin communities can embrace to help restore the balance between urbanization and sustaining the natural dune lakes.