Director of Florida Geological Survey Picked for National Academy of Sciences Study

Dr. Jon Arthur, Director of the Department of Environmental Protection’s Florida Geological Survey,is participating on the National Academy of Sciences Review Committee that is reviewing the Edwards Aquifer Habitat Conservation Plan. In February 2014, Dr. Arthur traveled to San Antonio to begin this review.

The plan supports long term biological goals through achieving hydrologic objectives established to protect threatened and endangered species in the region. Part of this multi-phased approach is to minimize impacts on spring flows in this complex karst environment. The work of the review committee involves the writing of three reports during the period through 2018, including review of scientific information and adaptive management plans developed to achieve the goals of the Edwards Aquifer Habitat Conservation Program.

“Only five geoscience professionals from across the nation were selected to be part of this review committee,” said DEP Secretary Herschel T. Vinyard Jr. “DEP has known for years that Dr. Arthur’s scientific prowess is unmatched. This is a clear acknowledgement of the world renowned expertise and scientific capabilities of our employees.”

Dr. Arthur was selected to be part of this committee because of his 30 years of knowledge and research with the Department, yielding a vast amount of research on aquifer system dynamics, water-rock interactions and its effects on water quality, aquifer vulnerability to contamination and alternative water resources in karstic settings. In June, Arthur was also named President-Elect of the Association of American State Geologists

Karst aquifers yield 25 percent of water to the Earth’s population. These aquifers are highly complex and vulnerable to contamination. In addition, more than 90 percent of Florida’s drinking water comes from Florida’s aquifers, most of which are karst-related. Participation on this committee will allow Florida to both gain and share important knowledge about complex aquifer systems which the Floridan and Edwards aquifer share, and lead to better understanding and protection of the Floridan aquifer.

“The knowledge gained through participation on this review committee will lead to better science and more informed decision making to protect water quality of Florida’s primary drinking water, as well as the supply of that drinking water through an increased understanding of administrative measures like Minimum Flows and Levels,” explained Dr. Arthur.

This trip follows Dr. Arthur’s presentation to the National Research Council of National Academies Board of Earth Sciences and Resources’ Committee on Geological and Geotechnical Engineering in November. In Washington, D.C., Dr. Arthur presented information on the state’s sinkhole vulnerability study that the Florida Geological Survey has started, as well as the general topic of sinkholes, including the impacts on the economy, environment and human health.

In December 2013 he was also invited to speak at the International Training Course on Karst Hydrogeological Investigation, Dynamic Monitoring and Application in River Basins. Additionally, he lectured to the Department of Geographical Sciences at Southwest University in Chongqing, China.

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