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Meet Environmental Policy Intern Natalie Von Tress

November 9, 2021

Natalie Von Tress is a third-year graduate student and National Science Foundation (NSF) Graduate Research Fellow at North Carolina State University studying biological and agricultural engineering. Her graduate work has focused on using satellite imagery to look at the frequencies of harmful algal blooms in Lake Okeechobee to better understand bloom dynamics over time. Through her research, she became interested in the impacts policy decision-making has on water quality in South Florida.

This fall and winter, Von Tress is interning with the Environmental Policy Team at SCCF to assess the long-term effects of two projects surrounding Lake Okeechobee and determine the impacts each will have to the Caloosahatchee Estuary. She is also involved in with Lake Okeechobee System Operating Manual (LOSOM) updates and optical modeling of seagrass in the Caloosahatchee. The internship is funded through her fellowship and the NSF Intern Program. “After researching Lake Okeechobee and its discharges for my master’s research, the opportunity to analyze upcoming decisions regarding the lake is unparalleled,” she said. “I am incredibly grateful to work with the SCCF policy team and to learn from their expertise and experience.”

Following the completion of her master’s degree in May, Von Tress hopes to apply her skillset in data analytics and modeling to support water quality decision-making. “We are very excited to have Natalie working with our policy team on these important projects,” said Environmental Policy Director James Evans. “Her engineering and hydrological modeling background is extremely valuable in evaluating the performance of the new Lake Okeechobee regulation schedule and the benefits of Everglades restoration on the Caloosahatchee.”


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