UF/IFAS employs high-tech methods to protect springs | #itsecurity | #infosec

J. Scott Angle

We can have it both ways. We can protect our springs and have viable agriculture in Florida. It will take a lot of science and behavior change to do it.   

Sixty million data points is a good start. That’s what Matt Cohen, of the University of Florida Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences, collected from sensors in forest soils over four years to analyze how different approaches to forest management — heavily harvested to hardly touched — impact how much water flows from our springs.  

What Cohen, a faculty member in the UF/IFAS School of Forest, Fisheries and Geomatics Sciences, has shown through his use of cutting-edge gadgetry and computing power is a path to better springs health. He has shown how we can use our working forests to improve water quality and quantity, not compromise it.  

For springs science to inform springs protection, Cohen needs the funding, the ear and the input of partners.  

He gets funding from state and federal agencies. He has water management districts and land conservation organizations interested in forest management as a tool for springs protection. He consults with environmental agencies and forestry groups for insights that refine his research and implement his findings.   

This partnership model also plays out in a springs research project funded by the United States Department of Agriculture. Led by Wendy Graham, a UF/IFAS professor who is director of the UF Water Institute, the project analyzes tradeoffs between land use, water quality and quantity, and economics.  

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