Water, Wetlands & Watersheds Seminar: Urban challenges & opportunities within UF/IFAS Extension Water Programs


11:45 am-12:35 pm
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Phelps Lab Room 101
1953 Museum Road
Gainesville, FL 32611


Abstract: Florida is witnessing rapid population growth and urban expansion, increasing stormwater runoff and the transport of pollutants into waterways. While no single solution exists, UF/IFAS Extension is positioned to lead multifaceted education programs leveraging local partnerships and engaging stakeholders. Reducing nutrient loading to nearby canals, ponds, and coastal waters is critical to limiting eutrophic conditions and economic costs associated with water quality degradation. Low impact design (LID), Green Stormwater Infrastructure (GI), Best Management Practices (BMPs), and public awareness are necessary to address adverse impacts associated with increasing urban stormwater runoff and the pollutant loads it may carry. New protections prescribed under Florida’s 2020 Clean Waterways Act rely upon urban Extension Agents to deliver the latest recommendations and conservation strategies to urban and agricultural stakeholders. As communities grapple with climate change impacts, expanding green stormwater infrastructure provides opportunities to enhance resilience. This presentation will briefly discuss practical and economical approaches UF/IFAS Extension is taking to address water quality and conservation, urban stormwater runoff, climate, and variable weather challenges.

Bio: Don is a UF/IFAS Extension Regional Specialized Agent responsible for the Southwest Extension District water resource program. His Extension career began in 2005 as a Commercial Horticulture Extension Agent for Sarasota County. Don is also responsible for creating and disseminating educational programs and materials designed to affect knowledge gain and behavioral change for urban audiences.

He provides educational programs covering urban water quality, quantity, supply, and best management practices focused on nutrient reduction and water conservation strategies. His audiences and stakeholders include Extension Agents, landscape maintenance professionals, golf course and specialty turf managers, builders/developers, pest control operators, local government leaders and staff, and environmental agency specialists.

Don earned a Bachelor of Science in Agriculture from the University of Georgia in 1995, where he studied Horticultural Science with an emphasis on Landscape and Grounds Management and a minor in Agricultural Economics.

In 2012, he earned a Master of Environmental Science from the University of Florida, where he studied landscape soils and their physical and chemical properties within a residential community.

Between 2009 and 2018, Don was the statewide coordinator for the Green Industries Best Management Practices (GI-BMP) training and mandatory certification program for landscape management professionals. The GI-BMP is an urban water quality program that addresses urban nonpoint source pollution.

Don is an affiliated faculty member for the UF/IFAS Center for Land Use Efficiency. He is a frequent speaker at Florida Turfgrass Association (FTGA) conferences and UF/IFAS training seminars and a veteran instructor for the Florida Golf Course Superintendent BMP Training program.

Don has received national and state-level recognition for his exceptional programming and leadership abilities. He was a National Golf Course BMP design team member responsible for developing a Golf BMP Planning Guide and Template currently implemented in all 50 states.

Don’s achievements include graduating from the “Leadership in the City” program at Ohio State University, a recognized course in Urban Extension leadership development, and the LEAD IFAS training program for Extension leaders.


Hosted by

Howard T. Odum Center for Wetlands