Professors Grants to Help Assess Local Environmental Issues

MELBOURNE, FLA. — Florida Tech Professor of Environmental Science Tom Belanger, Ph.D., recently received two grants for work that will help protect local

He earned $90,000 from the National Park Service to assess the coastal water resources and watershed conditions in Mosquito Lagoon and $47,000 from the
National Estuary Program/St. Johns Water Management District for a study of Indian River Lagoon on-site sewage disposal system (OSDS) contaminant loading.

Mosquito Lagoon, located within Canaveral National Seashore, faces many concerns, including coastal development and discharge, visitor use, invasive
species, over fishing and impacts from sediment transport and pollution. These impacts may have dramatic effects on aquatic ecosystems there.

Results from Belanger’s assessment will be integrated into park and service-wide databases. The information will be used to guide partnership efforts aimed
at increasing understanding of park problems, identifying pollution sources and other stressors, and developing restoration or cooperative management
strategies that may be necessary.

Co-investigators on this grant are Florida Tech faculty members from the Department of Marine and Environmental Systems Elizabeth Irlandi, Ph.D. and Gary
Zarillo, Ph.D.

Under his funding for the Indian River Lagoon, Belanger seeks to better understand the role of on-site sewage disposal in contributing to pollution in the
lagoon. Knowledge of OSDS nutrient and bacteria loading to the lagoon under various watershed conditions is vital to developing effective reduction
strategies. In this study he will sample three chosen residential sites served by OSDS within the lagoon basin. The Marine Resources Council of East
Central Florida will assist in the project.

The Department of Marine and Environmental Systems offers degree programs in costal zone management, environmental sciences, marine science, meteorology,
ocean engineering, Earth remote sensing, oceanography and environmental resource management.

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