Local Knowledge, Sense of Place, and Coastal Restoration in the Indian River Lagoon

Authors: Hannah Torres*, University of Central Florida, Timothy Hawthorne, University of Central Florida, Fernando Rivera, University of Central Florida, Lain Graham, Esri
Topics: Coupled Human and Natural Systems, Applied Geography, Geographic Information Science and Systems
Keywords: Sense of place, local knowledge, coastal restoration, GIS
Session Type: Paper
Day: 4/5/2019
Start / End Time: 5:00 PM / 6:40 PM
Room: Senate Room, Omni, West
Presentation File: No File Uploaded


Florida’s Indian River Lagoon is among the most biodiverse estuaries in North America. It is an Estuary of National Significance, a Florida Water of Special Importance, and is unofficially known as the Redfish Capital of the World. After a massive algae superbloom in 2011, recurring brown tides, unusual animal mortalities, and large fish kills, this once flourishing ecosystem appears to be in crisis. As such, the Indian River Lagoon National Estuary Program and its various partners are heavily investing resources into lagoon restoration and recovery. The purpose of our research is to better understand and integrate local knowledge into such restoration and recovery projects. Through focus groups and participatory mapping exercises, our work highlights stakeholder perceptions of environmental conditions, as well as priorities for restoration actions and locations. We contend that community members’ knowledge ought to be considered as expert knowledge in restoration and environmental management, and we propose strategies for effectively integrating such knowledge into restoration planning.

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