Environmentally Resilient, Resource-Efficient Land Use Cohort

Assistant Professor in Urban Soil and Water Quality

Land development decisions and their impacts on water and energy resources are critical to the resiliency and sustainability of Florida's urban, agricultural, and natural systems, and impact almost every UF/IFAS program. The goal of this cohort is to support research, extension, and teaching efforts to develop/adopt a systems approach to land use decision-making and management practices with the purpose of preserving Florida's water, energy, environmental, and financial resources. Simply stated, the focus of this cohort is on the systemic inter-connections between Florida's resources and land use decisions. The goal for this interdisciplinary cohort is to develop quantitatively-based analytical tools for practical application in land use decision-making in new developments as well as in the redevelopment of existing communities. The objective for the cohort is to measurably reduce the impacts of developments on Florida's resources. This cohort will draw upon the strengths of several different departments and address resource conservation in planning new developments and retrofitting existing communities, redeveloping existing communities, as well as understanding and maximizing efficiency in existing communities.

Description, Duties and Responsibilties

This 12-month tenure-accruing position is 40% research (Florida Agricultural Experiment Station) and 60% extension (Florida Cooperative Extension Service), with joint appointments in the Program for Resource Efficient Communities (PREC), Center for Landscape Conservation and Ecology (CLCE), and the Soil and Water Science Department (SWSD) in the Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences at the University of Florida. Tenure will accrue in SWSD. This 60% extension and 40% research faculty will develop a nationally recognized externally funded extension and research program on fate and transport of inorganic and organic contaminants in urban watersheds and develop alternative and remediation strategies to reduce soil and water contamination as related to human and natural systems health. Potential impacts of extreme events including: flooding, drought, climate change, and sea level rise on urban soil and water quality issues should be considered. Some examples of extension and research program would be a) evaluating the impacts of soil disturbance and fill soil on long-term landscape soil health, nutrient leaching and landscape water use; b) strategies to improve water quality treatment of stormwater infrastructure while addressing homeowner aesthetic expectations; c) develop soil and water quality indicators for use by developers, managers and homeowners to determine levels of environmental risk for water quality impacts so that awareness of these thresholds can be more easily recognized and managed; d) integration of Low Impact Design practices and other sustainable development techniques, with emphasis placed on efficient water use, and prevention of leaching of nutrients into the environment; and e) more broadly to assess the unintended consequences of applying any potential water quality contaminant to the watershed such as use of reclaimed water and chemicals to control algae and aquatic plants in stormwater ponds. The faculty member will contribute in a team approach, with other members of the cohort and ecologists, horticulturists, hydrologists, and modelers to develop comprehensive understanding to protect soil and water quality in urban watersheds. In addition, all aspects of the research program will be integrated with an active Extension component which is directed at communicating findings to stakeholders and addressing specific urban soil and water related issues.

This position is one of four in a cohort that will address issues related to environmentally resilient, resource efficient land use. These include expertise in: 1) This position; 2) Resource analytics focused on land use, water and energy; 3) Urban water resource engineering; and 4) Urban soil and water quality. These four faculty members will have unique opportunities for developing interdisciplinary, collaborative projects and partnerships with faculty in CLCE and PREC as well as in the UF Informatics Institute, UF Water Institute, Florida Climate Institute, Center for Public Issues Education, and other interdisciplinary programs at the University of Florida. The purpose of this cohort is to assemble a core group of faculty who will develop proactive programs and scholarly approaches to support desirable changes in Florida communities. All four new faculty will work collaboratively to understand and affect the many facets of current and future issues related to sustaining Florida's land, water, energy and other natural resources. All of these positions include extension appointments that will actively engage the new faculty with county extension faculty, state and local government, nonprofits at every level, and business leaders as they conduct educational programs focused on solutions in Florida communities. Scholarly publications that test theories or determine variables that account for success would be expected.