Graduation Year


Document Type




Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.)

Degree Granting Department

Geography, Environment and Planning

Major Professor

Joni Downs Firat, Ph.D.

Committee Member

Jennifer Collins, Ph.D.

Committee Member

Lori Collins, Ph.D.

Committee Member

Travis Doering, Ph.D.

Committee Member

Steven Reader, Ph.D.


monitoring, remote sensing, LiDAR, hydroblasting


This research aims to further the understanding of ecological restoration success in the Tampa Bay, Florida, region. Although over four hundred restoration projects have been completed in the bay area, knowledge of their success has been hindered by the lack of assessment and transfer of information concerning project outcomes. Without comprehensive project assessment, local science will be limited in its ability to inform practice because we lack the advantage of past knowledge.

Using a multi-scaled approach, a diverse set of restoration projects are evaluated, providing information on how the projects are contributing to defined targets established by the Tampa Bay Estuary Program’s guiding documents. Through execution of habitat field assessments and completion of geographic information system, remote sensing, and aerial and terrestrial laser scanning analyses, the feasibility and effectiveness of these projects is investigated.

Additionally, the research provides innovative techniques for monitoring projects with relative ease, allowing project evaluation to be conducted on a more regular basis across a range of temporal and spatial scales. A cost matrix, created from this toolbox, is provided to offer land managers with a means of evaluating, regulating, and conserving restored critical coastal habitats in Tampa Bay, thus saving public dollars that may otherwise be wasted on failed projects.