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SCCF, Conservancy of Southwest Florida hire water analyst

By SCCF - | Mar 12, 2021

PHOTO PROVIDED Paul Julian

To further a commitment to regional water quality and Everglades restoration through a unified front, the Sanibel-Captiva Conservation Foundation and Conservancy of Southwest Florida have partnered to hire a hydrological modeler.

“We better fulfill our west coast mission by pooling our resources and streamlining our efforts,” SCCF Chief Executive Officer Ryan Orgera said. “Doing so, we were able to hire a highly qualified data analyst who will move us more efficiently towards water quality solutions.”

On March 16, Paul Julian got to work. The goal of the partnership is to address a need for modeling expertise and data analysis in Southwest Florida. Work products will be shared between the non-profits.

For the past ten years, Julian worked as the Everglades technical lead for the Florida Department of Environment Protection. In the role, he gained understanding of the Greater Everglades ecosystem by performing water quality compliance calculations, supporting federal and state restoration planning efforts, developing water quality nutrient models, and mining and analysis of environmental data.

“We are very pleased to be able to bring someone of Paul’s caliber to our combined team, and to be working even closer with our partners at SCCF to advance science-based water quality solutions for our region,” conservancy President Rob Moher said. “Paul’s deep experience as one of the lead technical experts on Everglades restoration combined with his passion for conservation will strengthen our shared efforts to protect water resources.”

Julian has a Master of Science in environmental science from Florida Gulf Coast University and a Ph.D. in soil and water science from the University of Florida, which he earned while with the FDEP.

In his new role, he will use mechanistic and empirical models to synthesize environmental data and evaluate the effects of Everglades restoration projects, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers water management operations, impacts of regional and local development, sea-level rise, and other drivers on the hydrologic, water quality and ecological integrity of Southwest Florida’s watersheds, including but not limited to the Caloosahatchee and Lake Okeechobee.

“I’m really excited to join SCCF and the conservancy and to provide data-driven solutions to improving and understanding regional water quality and ecosystem function,” Julian said. “As part of this data-driven perspective, my goal is to synthesize existing data and, if needed, identify areas where more data is needed to aid in landscape and ecosystem level assessments to inform restoration activities and policy directives.”

Working under the direction of SCCF Environmental Policy Director James Evans and Conservancy Everglades and Water Policy Manager Marisa Carrozzo, one of his initial projects will be focused on the development of USACE Lake Okeechobee System Operating Manual (LOSOM). LOSOM will replace the current Lake Okeechobee Regulation Schedule, providing guidance to the Army Corps on freshwater releases from Lake Okeechobee, and is scheduled to be completed in 2022.