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Tackling the Tough Issues for Wetland Restoration in Florida

NOVEMBER 18, 2016--Speakers from the Stetson University School of Law, the Environmental Law Institute (ELI), and a wide range of county governments converged on Gulfport, FL, last week to facilitate the Fourth Annual ELI-Stetson Wetlands Workshop.

One of the many participants included OR&R’s Dr. Michel Gielazyn. She attended key presentations on the use of “brownfields” for wetland mitigation. Brownfields, which are properties that may have hazardous pollutants or contaminants present, are sometimes used in restoration projects that require some wetland enhancement, creation or preservation.

These challenging issues are part of Dr. Gielazyn’s daily scientific work for the Damage Assessment Remediation and Restoration Program at NOAA. She covers cases such as the LCP Chemical hazardous waste site in Brunswick, GA, as well as catastrophic oils spills such as the Deepwater Horizon incident. The Wetlands Workshop session on the protection of wetlands and the intricacies of state and local wetland regulations was particularly helpful to her restoration planning efforts.

A highlight of the workshop included a visit to nearby Ulele Springs, a property that historically housed the Tampa Streetcar Company, a processing plant and a dredging operation. NOAA and a host of other partners coordinated efforts to restore this scenic site to its former glory. Viewing another NOAA restoration project is always a valuable portion of any conference, but sharing these successful best practices directly assists Dr. Gielazyn in future projects.

For further information, contact Dr.

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Building on the shore of a lake.
Crystal clear waters of the Ulele Springs Restoration Project in Tampa, Florida. (NOAA)