Justin Saarinen, research scientist and geography instructor in the Environmental Studies program at New College of Florida, has been awarded $105,221 in grants from the U.S. Geological Survey for a project titled “Geospatial Modeling for Prioritizing Coastal Wetland Restoration.”

Saarinen and New College students will use GIS software and other technologies to develop geographic models for restoration planning along the coasts of the Great Lakes. The natural coastal wetland areas of the Great Lakes are largely converted to uses such as farms, industrial plants and subdivisions. A task force of 16 federal agencies and the governors of the region have determined that cleaning and restoring wetlands is a key to restoring the health of the Great Lakes. For more information, visit http://www.greatlakesrestoration.us/priorities.html

The grants are part of a five-year cooperative agreement between New College and the U.S. Geological Survey.