Coastal Policy Lab

The Coastal Policy Lab is at the intersection of science and policy – law, economics, engineering, planning and the social sciences – and engages faculty and students from these and other disciplines in a “laboratory” format.


The “Coastal Policy Laboratory” provides a central campus hub for coastal policy research and training.  Faculty from key disciplines at the intersection of science and policy – law, economics, engineering, planning and the social sciences – engage students from these and other disciplines in a “laboratory” format to ensure that the policy implications of Center research are adequately understood and addressed, that Center students are equipped with the tools of policy analysis, and that Center stakeholders have a place to go to seek advice on policy applications that advance coastal solutions, including those developed by the Center.

Thomas Ankerson“Policy relevance has become a watchword for scientists and engineers grappling with the coast’s especially wicked problems. Achieving policy fluency is a key component of a truly interdisciplinary approach to STEM education.  A policy lab housed in a STEM Center can achieve both.”

Thomas T. Ankersen, Committee Chair, UF Faculty Board
Professor Emeritus, Director, Conservation Clinic
UF Levin College of Law


Coastal Policy Lab Course

In 2021, as part of the Center for Coastal Solutions partnership with the Sanibel-Captiva Conservation Foundation (SCCF), the inaugural fall semester course called the Coastal Policy Lab brought together six law students from the UF Law Conservation Clinic and six engineering graduate students affiliated with the Center for Coastal Solutions to address coastal resiliency on Sanibel and Captiva islands.

UF Law Professor Tom Ankersen (now emeritus) and UF Environmental Engineering Professor Christine Angelini chose Charlotte Harbor as the focus of the first Coastal Policy Lab.

The Coastal Policy Lab is an experiential learning program in which law and graduate engineering and science students work together in teams on projects of importance to a local partner—in this case SCCF. They explored nature-based solutions that address sea level rise and water quality, such as living seawalls and shorelines, oyster and sponge gardening, mangrove management, and navigation channel design. Financial support for the program was provided by Florida Sea Grant.

Students also researched institutional design options for coastal resiliency programming such as “adaptation action areas” and “coastal resiliency districts.” The student teams presented their results to SCCF stakeholders early December. SCCF staff that advised the project teams include SCCF Coastal Resiliency Program Manager Carrie Schuman, SCCF Environmental Policy Director James Evans, and SCCF Marine Laboratory Director Eric Milbrandt.

Coastal Policy NEWS & Blog

Coastal Policy Blog webpage

  • State Policy Updates
    Several water and coastal bills are being passed and supported, including a seagrass restoration technology development initiative, land acquisition trust fund and EPA grant for Indian River Lagoon field trip.   

    SB 724 – Seagrass Restoration Technology Development Initiative  This bill provides for funding, requires the creation of a 10-year Florida Seagrass Restoration Plan and establishes the ...

  • Florida Department of Environmental Protection Rulemaking
    General Permit for Seagrass Restoration 
    This general permit is intended to streamline seagrass restoration. No draft has been released nor have hearings been scheduled. (This topic was covered in the October/November CCS newsletter). 
    Generic NPDES Permit to allow discharges associated with experimental technologies to control Red Tide and Blue Green Algae.     
    This proposed generic permit will authorize the ...
  • 2023 Legislative Session: Senate Bill 100 and SB 172- Safe Waterways Work
     2023 Legislative Session 
     The 2023 legislative session begins in April, but bills worth watching are beginning to be filed and referred to the appropriate committees.    

    Senate Bill 100 – Mangrove Replanting and Restoration.  This bill amends Section 403.9324, Florida Statutes, Florida’s mangrove protection statute. It requires FDEP to adopt rules for mangrove replanting and restoration to address ...

  • Florida Sea Grant Convenes State’s First Restoration Aquaculture Policy Workshop
    In October, Florida Sea Grant convened a small group of scientists, policy specialists, regulators, and stakeholders to discuss opportunities and challenges in the emerging field of restoration aquaculture. Restoration aquaculture is a relatively new area that merges the commodity-based production-oriented practices of aquaculture with an ecosystem services approach to environmental restoration.
    The goal is to put ...
  • POLICY BRIEF: Oyster Governance in Florida: A Rich History with Lessons for Future Management
    Project Team
    Chad Palmer, Ph.D. Candidate, School of Natural Resources and the Environment, UF
    Cole Thomas, J.D. (2022), UF Levin College of Law
    Meredith Burgess, J.D. Candidate (2023), UF Levin College of Law
    Jamie Castille, M.S., Wildlife Ecology and Conservation Department, UF
    Faculty Advisors
    Thomas T. ...