New SCCF lab promises improved water monitoring
FORT MYERS - Twice the space and about $350,000 worth of new, high-tech water testing equipment make the new Sanibel-Captiva Conservation Foundation marine laboratory a more effective hedge against harmful algal blooms and other water issues plaguing Southwest Florida, SCCF scientists say.
The new lab recently opened at the Tarpon Bay Recreation Area of the J.N. “Ding” Darling National Wildlife Refuge on Sanibel Island. Since 1996, SCCF has occupied a small building on the federal land. The structure had previously served as a retail space before the government acquired the private marina property at Tarpon Bay in the late 1980s.
“There have been scientists here since ’96, but not full-time staff,” said marine laboratory director Dr. Eric Milbrandt. “It was used by visiting scientists.”
In more recent years, as SCCF strengthened its mission to focus more and more on water monitoring, its five scientific researchers, plus interns and visiting scientists used the building as offices and laboratories.