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South Atlantic Chapter 2024 Conference

June 19, 2024 - June 21, 2024


Sustaining Our Roots: Balancing Development, Conservation, and Wetland Restoration 

Join us for the SWS-SAC 2024 Conference in Pensacola Beach, Florida, from June 19th to 21st, 2024. Themed Sustaining Our Roots: Balancing Development, Conservation, and Wetland Restoration, this conference explores the critical intersection of wetland science, environmental conservation, and sustainable development. Featuring workshops, field trips, oral and poster presentations, networking opportunities, and a special focus on student mentorship, this event brings together professionals, academics, and students passionate about preserving our wetland ecosystems. Don't miss this chance to engage with experts, exchange ideas, and shape the future of wetland conservation!

Registration prices will increase after June 1, so register today!

Submit your abstract here

Registration Pricing:

  • Conference registration (regular): $350
  • Conference registration (student): $100

Additional Items:

  • Student Mentorship Luncheon (students only): $25
  • Implementing the Uniform Wetland Assessment Method (UMAM) Workshop: $250
  • Hydric Soils Workshop: $250
  • Blackwater River Tubing Field Trip: $100
  • Blackwater River State Forest and Escribano Point Field Trip: $50
  • Pensacola Blue Wahoos Game: $40
  • Project Greenshores Guided Tour Field Trip: Free


Wednesday, June 19, 2024

Workshops and Field Trips

UMAM Workshop - Matthew Miller (8 am - 12 pm) Guadeloupe A Join us at the South Atlantic Chapter 2024 Conference for an in-depth workshop on the Uniform Mitigation Assessment Method (UMAM) led by Matthew Miller, Director of Environmental Services at WRA Engineering. Workshop Highlights: Understanding Wetlands: Definitions, types, and importance; Wetland Regulations: Key laws and policies; Functional Assessments: Methods and applications; The UMAM: Intent, scope, and practical application; Mitigation Strategies: Preservation, enhancement, creation, and restoration; Real-world Examples: Interactive case studies and field assignments; About the Instructor: Matthew Miller is a Professional Wetland Scientist (PWS) with extensive experience in environmental services and wetland science. As the Director of Environmental Services at WRA Engineering, he specializes in wetland delineations, functional assessments, and mitigation strategies. Matthew has led numerous successful projects across Florida, contributing significantly to wetland conservation and environmental protection.

How to identify FeS, a recognized hydric soil indicator, in the absence of hydrogen sulfide in a coastal wetland - Richard Chinn (8 am - 12 pm) Guadeloupe C A hands-on class on how to estimate/determine organic matter content in sand to distinguish between muck, mucky sand and no muck, using the AGCP Regional Supplement, the densities of organic matter and silica and the combustion method. This workshop will also discuss a better way to use the "Hydrogen Sulfide" Hydrology and Hydric Soil indicator, particularly in estuarine and marine environments.

Blackwater River State Forest and Escribano Point Field Trip (Meet at Hotel Lobby @ 7 am - 4 pm)
The red-cockaded woodpecker is on the Endangered Species list due to loss of habitat from logging and land clearing. In 1998, the Blackwater population had dwindled to just 12 pairs of birds. Since then, staff have translocated birds, installed artificial nest cavities, and proactively managed habitat to bring the population to recovery levels. Red-cockaded woodpeckers are social birds that live in family groups, staying close to their cavities and working cooperatively to build and maintain their homes and raise nestlings. They protect their nests by pecking resin wells which ooze pitch, giving the trees a white coating that can be seen from a long distance.

Seepage slopes are wetlands embedded within the high pine forest, and occur where underground water reaches the surface due to underlying clay layers. The wet, sandy, bogs are home to a wild variety of plants, including orchids and several carnivorous species. Locally, they are known as pitcher-plant bogs. Forest managers maintain these open, herbaceous plant communities by applying fire frequently. 

Project Greenshores Guided Tour Field Trip (Meet at Veterans Memorial Park (200 S 10th Ave, Pensacola, FL 32502) @ 9 am) This guided walking tour along Pensacola Bay will highlight Project Greenshores. Project GreenShores is a multimillion dollar habitat restoration and creation project in downtown Pensacola along the urban shoreline of Pensacola Bay. This habitat restoration effort partners DEP's Northwest Florida Aquatic Preserves with the city of Pensacola, Escambia County, the Ecosystem Restoration Support Organization, the EPA Gulf of Mexico Program, the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, NOAA, Gulf Power, local agencies, businesses and volunteers in a community-based effort to restore oyster reef, salt marsh and seagrass habitat within the Pensacola Bay System. Restoring the Pensacola Bay estuary to its historic state stabilizes shorelines and provides essential habitat for wildlife propagation and conservation.

Icebreaker Event - Humble Oyster Movie Screening (Holiday Inn - Guadeloupe B @ 5-7 pm) How can such a small creature make such a large impact? To tell the story of oysters in the Northwest Florida region, the Pensacola and Perdido Bay Estuaries Program (PPBEP) turned to the Mississippi State University (MSU) Television Center. Having been impressed by a previous short film focused on the Escambia Bay Watershed, PPBEP asked the TV Center to produce a half hour documentary outlining the importance of these indigenous oysters and their importance to the area’s ecology and economy. The MSU Films team followed the efforts of individuals working to revive the commercial oyster industry, supplemented by historical and expert perspectives on Pensacola oysters. The film, called, “The Humble Oyster” premiered regionally on WSRE-TV and was recognized with a 2023 Southeast Regional Emmy for Environment / Science – Long Form.

Poster Session Set-Up (Holiday Inn - St. Barts @ 5-7 pm) 

Thursday, June 20, 2024

7:00 - 8:00

St. Croix Hall/St. Barts

Poster Session Set-Up, Registration & Coffee

8:00 - 8:15

Guadeloupe B&C

Welcoming Address, Chief Dan Skyhorse

8:15 - 9:00

Guadeloupe B&C

Keynote Speaker - Mark Rains (CSO Florida, USF)

9:00 - 9:10

St. Croix Hall/St. Barts/Guadeloupe

Networking break

9:10 - 9:15

Guadeloupe B&C

Christina Omran - SWS Diversity Initiative

9:15 - 9:45


Guadeloupe B&C

Lisa Chambers (UCF). Expanding ‘Blue Carbon’ Inventories to Include Measures of Soil Carbon Stability



Guadeloupe B&C

Katherine Johnsen (UCF). Constructed Treatment Wetland Systems as Effective Tools for Microplastic Removal

10:15 - 10:45


Guadeloupe B&C

Jennifer Volk (UCF). Soil Biogeochemical Properties Associated with Coastal Wetland Stability in the Tolomato River Estuary

10:45 - 11:15


Guadeloupe B&C

Carie Reinhardt Adams (UF). Enhancing sediment stability in Florida living shorelines projects with plant selection and planting design

11:15 - 11:45


Guadeloupe B&C

Madeline Estes (UF). Developing seed-based restoration of Spartina alterniflora (smooth cordgrass) for living shorelines in Florida

11:45 - 12:00

St. Croix Hall/St. Barts

Networking break

12:00 - 1:30

Antilles A&B

Student Mentorship Lunch - Lunch Provided with Conference Registration

1:30 - 1:45

St. Croix Hall/St. Barts

Networking break

1:45 - 2:15


Guadeloupe A

David Kaplan (UF). Mangrove freeze resistance and resilience across a tropical-temperate transitional zone


Guadeloupe C

Nicholas Chin (UF). Influence of the Loop Current on Red Tide (K. brevis) Blooms Across Southwest Florida

2:15 - 2:45


Guadeloupe A

Alexis Jackson (UF). Connecting Hydrology and Soil Organic Carbon Storage in Southeastern US Flatwoods Wetlands


Guadeloupe C

Anthony Mirabito (UCF). Soil Carbon and Nitrogen Content Within Mineral Associated Organic Matter of Natural and Created Coastal Wetlands

2:45 - 3:15


Guadeloupe A

Ashlynn Smith (UF). Novel approaches may improve wet prairie restoration outcomes


Guadeloupe C

Edgar Guerron Orejuela (USF). CReST: A Conservation and Restoration Screening Tool for Prioritizing Opportunities for Water-Quality Improvement

3:15 - 3:45


Guadeloupe A

Mercedes Pinzon Delgado (UCF). Implications of Mangrove Migration and Nitrogen Enrichment on Mineral-Associated Organic Matter Formation in Coastal Wetlands in Florida 


Guadeloupe C

Adam Herdman (UF). The Reintroduction of the Ghost Orchid (Dendrophylax lindenii): Survival and attachment of Plants Germinated Ex Situ

3:45 - 4:15


Guadeloupe A

Rob de Rooij (UF). How to unravel the age and source components of spring water: A novel modeling framework based on SWAT-MODFLOW and MODPATH


Guadeloupe C

William Crumpton (Iowa State University). Water Quality Performance of Wetlands Receiving Non-Point Source Nitrogen Loads: Nitrate Removal and GHG Emissions



Guadeloupe A

Elizabeth Sicking (Virginia Tech University). Space or time? Understanding patterns of aquatic insect emergence across geographically isolated wetlands

6:00 - 8:00

St. Croix Hall/St. Barts

Welcome Reception (Light hors d'oeurve and cash bar); SWS-SAC Chapter Meeting (30 minutes) Student Poster Session and Judging

Friday, June 21, 2024

7:00 - 8:00

St. Croix Hall/St. Barts

Registration & Coffee

8:00 - 8:45

Guadeloupe B&C

President's Address (Richard Chinn); Award Presentation - Student Awards; Logo Design Award (Christina Uranowski)

8:45 - 9:30

Guadeloupe B&C

Keynote Speaker #2- Royal Gardner (Stetson University)

9:30 - 9:45

Guadeloupe B&C

Kim Ponzio - SWS-Professional Wetland Scientist Certification Program

9:45 - 10:00

St. Croix Hall/St. Barts/Guadeloupe

Networking break

10:00 - 10:35


Guadeloupe A

Richard Chinn (RCET). The Current Status of Section 404 Assumption in Florida


Guadeloupe C

Haley Gancel (PPBEP). Using the National Wetlands Condition Assessment to assess the health of wetlands in Pensacola and Perdido Bays

10:35 - 11:10


Guadeloupe A

Tim Hull (OCEPD). Science Driven Policy: Protecting Orange County's Wetlands


Guadeloupe C

Warren Wagner (GPC). A novel low-impact approach for working in tidal salt marsh to rebuild a 4-mile segment of electric transmission line in Savannah, GA. 

11:10 - 11:45


Guadeloupe A

Matthew Miller (WRA). Pasco County's Ecologic Corridors as a Tool for Smart Growth


Guadeloupe C

Paul Looney (WRA). Bayou Chico Restoration Project

11:45 - 12:00

St. Croix Hall/St. Barts

Networking break

12:00 - 1:30

Antilles A&B

Science Panel - Local Projects Discussion - Melinda Gates (Walton); Mike Norberg (Okaloosa); Ryan Rossi (St. Andrew & St. Joseph Bays EP); Chips Kirschenfeld (Escambia County); Tayna Linzy (Santa Rosa County) - Lunch Provided with Conference Registration

1:30 - 1:45

St. Croix Hall/St. Barts

Networking break

1:45 - 2:20


Guadeloupe A

Kristie Gianopulos (NCDEQ). Tipping Points and Changes in North Carolina's Outer Coastal Plain Wetlands


Guadeloupe C

Ryann Rossi - St. Andrew and St. Joseph Bay Estuary Program Status

2:20 - 2:55


Guadeloupe A

Matt Posner - Pensacola and Perdido Bay National Estuary Program


Guadeloupe C

Melinda Gates - Choctawhatchee Bay Estuary Program

2:55 - 3:30


Guadeloupe A

Kimberli Ponzio (SJRWMD). Herbicide use for Salix caroliniana management – how long will it last?


Guadeloupe C

Chips Kirschenfeld (Escambia County) - Escambia County Restore Act Projects

3:30 - 4:05


Guadeloupe A

Richard Looney (WRA), Max Roozbahani (Filio) and June Zheng (Filio) - Emerging Technology - Using the Filio application for wetland monitoring projects;


Guadeloupe C

Naisy Dolar (Santa Rosa County)-Funding, passion, and teamwork leads to change in Santa Rosa County

4:05 - 4:20

Guadeloupe B&C

Final Conference Closing Remarks

6:05 PM

Pensacola Blue Wahoos Baseball Game

All posted times are Central Standard Time (CST)

Sponsorship Levels

Title Sponsor (1 available): $5,000•All the benefits of a Beach Mouse Sponsor•Company logo alongside the Conference Logo on all emails and marketing material•Large Company logo on the front of the SWAG bagStudent Poster Session Sponsor (1 available): $5,000•All the benefits of a Beach Mouse Sponsor•Individual company recognition of sponsorship at the selected break•Company representative included on the student poster session judging panel and will present the award to the student recipients•Company representative included in the student luncheon panel•Small company logo included on the swag bagBeach Mouse Sponsor (5 available): $3,000•All the benefits of a Sand Dune Sponsor•Additional 3 complimentary conference registrations (5 total, $2,250)•Medium sized company logo on the swag bagSand Dune Sponsor (10 available): $1,500•All the benefits of a Seagull Sponsor•Additional complimentary conference registration (2 total, $900 value)•Exhibitor boothSeagull Sponsor (unlimited and In-Kind Sponsor for Planning Committee Members): $1,000•Small company logo included on the swag bag•1 Complimentary conference registration ($450 value)•Company recognition at the start of each daySurf Break Sponsor (6 available): $550•Small company logo included on the swag bag•Individual company recognition of sponsorship at the selected break 

Hotel Information
*Note: group events will be taking place at The Holiday Inn Resort

We have rooms blocked off at the following locations. Please use the information below to reserve a room and mention you are with the Society of Wetland Scientists:

  • Holiday Inn Resort ($389/night), 14 Via De Luna Dr., Pensacola Beach, FL 32561
    • Book online
    • Direct contact for booking: Katie McPhail (DOS - Holiday Inn Resort) -
    • To book by phone: (850) 916-8082
  • Hilton ($389/night), 12 Via De Luna Dr, Pensacola Beach, FL 32561
    • Book online
    • To book by phone: (850) 916-2999 (mention the code "SAC" to receive the discounted room rate)
  • Fairfield Inn (20 rooms at a government rate of $214 - ID required; $389 regular rate), 16 Via De Luna Dr, Pensacola Beach, FL 32561
    • Book online
    • Direct contact for booking: Jessie Newell (DOS - Fairfield) -
    • To book by phone: (850) 932-1889

Contact Information

Name: Matthew Miller
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