Skip to Main Content


CREST CAChE is unifying the diverse, interdisciplinary pool of researchers into one center, which will enhance collaborations and partnerships. We are working in collaboration with governmental and private sector partners throughout South Florida to:

  • Develop practical solutions to problems related to water quality in a natural-agricultural-urban setting
  • Create a modeling platform that will enable policy-makers and managers to make informed decisions

In addition to providing research and resource management expertise, our collaborating partners provide access to data, potential students and internships at state (South Florida Water Management District), Federal (US Geological Survey, US Environmental Protection Agency, the National Park Service and the Department of the Interior), Native American (Miccosukee Tribe of Indians) organizations, and Educational Institutions (Miami Dade College, Florida Keys Community College, Miami-Dade County Public Schools).

Key Partners

External Partners

  • Nick Aumen, PhD

    • Regional Science Advisor for the US Geological Survey. Dr. Aumen brings to the table his extensive research experience in modeling water resources and climate change.
  • Heather Belmont, PhD 

    • Dean of Sciences at Miami Dade College. Dr. Belmont serves as the point of contact for MDC, working with faculty to promote the CAChE Discovery courses and facilitate their implementation.
  • Kevin Burger, PhD
    • Deputy Director for the Department of Interior’s Office of Everglades Restoration Initiatives and for the South Florida Ecosystem Restoration Task force.
  • Cristian Carranza, PhD
    • STEM Director for the Miami-Dade County Public Schools. Will collaborate with Dr. Kramer developing and delivering research and teaching tools developed via CREST.
  • Amy Castaneda, PhD
    • Environmental Officer for the Miccosukee Tribe of Indians. Dr. Castaneda provides a valuable recruiting avenue for Native American students.
  • Joffre Castro, PhD
    • Water Quality Manager for the Everglades National Park. Dr. Castro brings valuable expertise in environmental chemistry and environmental engineering.
  • Dave Graff
    • Education Specialist- High School and University at Rookery Bay National Estuarine Research Reserve. Graff coordinates high school and college marine science boat-based field trips.
  • Peter Kalla, PhD 

    • Senior Scientist in the US EPA Region 4 Laboratory. Dr. Kalla has extensive, relevant experience in mercury research.
  • Keith Laakkonen
    • Environmental Administrator at Rookery Bay National Estuarine Research Reserve and Regional Administrator for aquatic preserves in Southwest Florida. Keith has extensive experience with hydrologic restoration, exotic plant and animal management, public access management, and environmental education and outreach. 
  • David Lagomasino, PhD
    • Postdoctoral Research Scientist at Universities Space Research Association, NASA Goddard Space Flight Center, Greenbelt, MD. David is a remote sensing scientist with a strong background in coastal hydrogeology. 
  • Michael Lewis, PhD 
    • Senior Scientist and Branch Chief at the US EPA. Dr. Lewis is an ecosystems ecologist with experience in ecosystem and resource management.
  • Michael McPherson, PhD
    • Dean of Arts & Sciences, Florida Keys Community College. Dr. McPherson serves as the point of contact for FKCC, working to recruit faculty for participation in the Discovery courses and facilitate their implementation.
  • Colin Polsky, PhD
    • Director of the Florida Center for Environmental Studies at Florida Atlantic University. As a Center Director and Professor, he helps build and lead teams to advance knowledge of U.S. climate vulnerabilities, in both methodological and applied terms.


  • David Rudnick, PhD
    • Science Coordinator for the Everglades National Park. Dr. Rudnick has extensive experience in wetland ecology and management.
  • Fred Sklar, PhD 

    • Director of the Everglades Ecosystem Assessment Section of the South Florida Water Management District, as well as a member of many Everglades restoration task forces and committees. Dr. Sklar provides extensive experience in wetland restoration and landscape modeling.