UCF, US Geological Survey to conduct water research in joint facility

04/04/05

Collaboration to study Central Florida water, affects of stresses such as urban growth, hurricanes

ORLANDO, April 4, 2005 -- The U.S. Geological Survey and the University of Central Florida will build a joint facility to study Central Florida's water and how it is affected by stresses including urban growth and hurricanes, UCF announced today.

The five-year, $1.7 million project is a two-tiered agreement intended to enable collaborative research and further the scientific mission of both organizations in the public interest.

The agreement includes construction of a shared 18,000-square-foot research facility in the Central Florida Research Park adjacent to the UCF campus. Research Point LLC has been selected as the developer. About 50 USGS employees and 11 other staff will relocate from the USGS facility in Altamonte Springs. Construction should begin in October and be completed by March 2006.

In addition to the new research facility, the agreement calls for UCF faculty and graduate students to conduct joint research projects with USGS scientists.

"The Orlando area has the most varied and complex hydrology of any other district in Florida," said David Brown, chief of the Orlando office of the USGS Florida Integrated Science Center.

"From wetlands, sand hills, sinkhole lakes, submarine springs, flowing wells and other unique configurations -- we have it all," said Brown, whose area of responsibility includes central and northeast Florida. Major waterways in the area include the St. Johns River, the Kissimmee River, the Withlacoochee River, and their tributaries.

"UCF is pleased to have the opportunity to work directly with USGS scientists and share expertise to help protect Florida's vital natural resources," said Tom O'Neal, associate vice president for research.

USGS scientists in Florida study the myriad aspects of surface and ground water availability and quality, hydrologic hazards such as hurricanes, sinkholes, flooding and storm surge. Ecosystem research, marine geology and biology are also key areas of research at USGS facilities throughout the state.

"In partnership with UCF, we hope to enhance our understanding of the water cycle and how it is affected by human and natural stresses, such as pollution, urban growth and hurricanes. This partnership will help to integrate scientific understanding and help decision-makers manage the region's water supply," Brown said.

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