Unveiling Ceremony Kicks Off New Marine Laboratory Construction

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The long awaited construction of SCCF’s new Marine Research Laboratory is set to start this fall. A September 30 ceremony to unveil the construction signage was attended by the building donors who funded the project in partnership with the US Fish & Wildlife Service. Among those in attendance was Gretchen Valade, the primary underwriter of the Lab’s 2002 initial 5-year operating plan.

The speakers were SCCF Executive Director Erick Lindblad, J.N. “Ding” Darling National Wildlife Refuge Manager Paul Tritaik, and Dr. Eric Milbrandt, the Marine Lab’s Director. Milbrandt spoke of the work that will done in the new facility, including:

RECON sensor array water quality monitoring, seagrass and oyster reef restoration and research, fish toxin studies,  red tide monitoring, surface and ground water studies on Captiva and Sanibel, and other projects to inform better water management and land use practices.

52-083in-x-45in-marine-lab-signWhen completed in the fall of 2017, the new Lab will be an elevated 2,800 square foot space with wet and dry lab space, under-building tank lab, and storage for the boats and scientific gear. The new facility will provide new research capabilities, safety for the staff, and increase collaboration with local and visiting scientists.

Lindblad closed the ceremony by announcing a new $440,000 capital campaign to fund the interior build-out and equipment costs to complete the effort to establish a state-of-the-art Marine Research Laboratory and noted that in the 14 years since its inception the lab staff has developed a very well respected scientific presence in the region, statewide and nationally.

While the base building construction is fully funded, the new fundraising campaign will make it possible to turn the structure into a scientifically sophisticated marine research operation essential in fulfilling the SCCF mission.

SCCF supporters interested in helping with this unmet capital funding need are asked to contact Cheryl Giattini at 239-395-2768 or cgiattini@sccf.org.