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GAINESVILLE, Fla. — Five years after the explosion of the Deepwater Horizon oil rig killed 11 men and sent at least 210 million gallons of oil spewing into the Gulf of Mexico, people along the coast are gathering for a three-city regional forum Thursday. Participants will discuss the spill’s effects on their communities, its lasting impacts and how to prepare for another major disaster.
The regional forum will include the release of results from a University of Florida Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences survey of Gulf Coast residents from Baldwin County, Ala., to Cedar Key, Fla. The survey looked at coastal residents’ opinions of the status of their recovery five years after the DWH disaster.
Findings indicated that respondents’ levels of satisfaction were lower five years after the spill than before it in several topic areas. This included levels of satisfaction with their community’s economy, community leadership and programs, local media, Gulf coast seafood industry, faith-based organizations and emergency response efforts. (more …)
GAINESVILLE, Fla. — Waiting too long to make a decision in the face of disaster is in itself a decision – and rarely a good one, a University of Florida expert in community development says.
Michael Spranger, a UF Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences professor and Extension specialist, says deadly indecision can be trumped by one thing: Planning.
Cutline: UF/IFAS researchers say a new computer model can help coastal managers make better beach nourishment decisions and possibly save millions of dollars. Above, the beach is shown with a fence at St. Augustine Beach, Fla.
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GAINESVILLE, Fla. – A computer model developed, in part, by University of Florida researchers can help coastal managers better understand the long-term effects of major storms, sea-level rise and beach restoration activities and possibly save millions of dollars.
Researchers used erosion data following tropical storms and hurricanes that hit Santa Rosa Island, off Florida’s Panhandle, and sea-level rise projections to predict beach habitat changes over the next 90 years. But they say their model can be used to inform nourishment decisions at any beach.
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GAINESVILLE, Fla. — People who live in the southeastern United States should begin to prepare for more drastically changing weather conditions – everything from heat waves to poorer air quality – caused by climate change, according to a new book, edited by a University of Florida researcher.
The book, which UF’s Keith Ingram helped write, is titled “Climate Change of the Southeast United States: Variability, Change, Impacts and Vulnerability.” Ingram was the book’s lead editor.
GAINESVILLE, Fla. — If you’re an older person living on your own or if an older adult relies on you for help, the next few weeks are a perfect time to spend creating a disaster plan, a University of Florida researcher says.
Hurricane season begins June 1 and preparations can take a little longer and require a bit more attention to detail for older adults and their caregivers, said UF’s Linda Bobroff, a family, youth and community sciences professor who helped update a guide that outlines exactly how to become prepared. Bobroff, who specializes in food and nutrition, is part of UF’s Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences.
The guide, called Disaster Planning Tips for Older Adults, is available at http://edis.ifas.ufl.edu/fy620.
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GAINESVILLE, Fla. — It might be easy for the casual beachgoer to write off sea oats as mere weeds. However, the lanky grass holds the soil of beach dunes, making it a keystone of the natural barrier between land and water-and University of Florida researchers are using cutting-edge techniques to keep that barrier in place.”The 2004 hurricane season showed us exactly how important it is to have effective ways of rebuilding our coastal dunes,” said Mike Kane, a UF environmental horticulture professor. “Plants are an essential part of that rebuilding.”
The researchers from UF’s Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences are not only developing new ways to grow the plants under laboratory and greenhouse conditions, but are building a cryogenically stored library of genetically varied sea oats samples.
Four major hurricanes and a tropical storm damaged more than 800 miles of Florida shoreline in 2004, leaving 360 miles of beach critically eroded. Nearly $200 million in state and federal funding was allocated to rebuild.
Planting sea oats along reconstructed beaches isn’t easy or cheap. The 22,000 sea oats plants required to populate one mile of rebuilt beach cost more than $40,000.
One of the biggest hurdles is producing enough plants that will thrive in the area being rebuilt. Many of the natural sea oats populations that serve as seed sources were damaged or destroyed during the 2004-2005 hurricane seasons, leaving researchers looking for ways to produce sea oats other than by seed. (more …)
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GAINESVILLE, Fla. — You can’t tell a storm’s spit by its punch, the old maxim goes. Florida is used to stronger weather systems than August’s tropical storm Fay, but its seven-day deluge made it the fourth wettest storm to ever hit the state.
One month later, most of the flooding has receded, but an expert from the University of Florida’s Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences warns that new problems could be rising in the form of toxic molds and mildews. (more …)
GAINESVILLE, Fla. — Southern states most often wracked by hurricanes are ahead of the nation when it comes to preparing citizens to help in a disaster, but there are still plenty of volunteer gaps that need to be filled, a University of Florida researcher says.
And with hurricane season beginning Sunday, there’s no better time for residents to volunteer for disaster teams in their area, said Mark Brennan, a rural sociologist with UF’s Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences who has written extensively on volunteerism. (more …)
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GAINESVILLE, Fla. — Calling it a silver lining may be a stretch, but the storm clouds wrought by the devastating 2004 hurricane season did bring the Sunshine State at least one ray of relief.
The year before, West Nile virus unexpectedly struck nearly 3,000 people in Colorado, killing more than 60. Similar outbreaks seemed virtually inevitable throughout the country for the next year – especially in Florida, where the mosquito and bird-borne disease seemed inevitable. (more …)
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