Graduation Year


Document Type




Degree Granting Department

Geography, Environment and Planning

Major Professor

M. Martin Bosman, Ph.D.

Committee Member

Pratyusha Basu, Ph.D.

Committee Member

Jayajit Chakraborty, Ph.D.

Committee Member

Joni Downs, Ph.D.

Committee Member

Christopher Meindl, Ph.D.


Ecosystem Management, Freshwater resources management, Sustainable development, Urbanization


Experts and organizations involved in freshwater resources management have emphasized the importance of long-term urban resource planning and management that considers the tight coupling which exists between human - nature - technology systems. The resistance of contemporary urban growth efforts to consider resource carrying capacities and ecosystem requirements has led to costly unintended consequences including the deterioration of natural capital and their associated ecosystem services, and the degradation of water resource flows. As these problems continue to worsen, resource experts have called for the development of a new water resource management paradigm inclusive of various sustainability criteria.

Historically water-rich Florida has demonstrated increased resource strain over the past four decades, in spite of the creation of some of the nation's most comprehensive water resource and growth management legislation. The Southwest Florida Water Management District was originally created to manage regional flooding in 1961 and has undergone a tremendous expansion in statutorily mandated resource responsibilities over the past 40 years. This case study utilized semi-structured surveys of current and former agency employees to examine the agency's expansion into integrated water resource management amidst rapid regional urbanization.