mwk student blog

Student Spotlight: Casey Dresbach

Miami Waterkeeper student, Casey Dresbach, recently completed her Honor's thesis with the University of Miami Rosenstiel School of Marine and Atmospheric Science and participated in a poster session where she described her project. Casey used ArcGIS to study Brownfields within Miami-Dade County.

Casey's project, titled: "A Case Study: Prioritizing a Contaminated Brownfield Site within Miami-Dade County in Overtown, FL for Cleanup, Redevelopment, and Remediation," evaluated which brownfield sites in Miami were most susceptible to sea level rise and flooding impacts. She cross-referenced these sites with socioeconomic data to determine community vulnerability to potential toxic contamination and compiled this information into a GIS database. The variables she used included: population density, percentage of people below poverty, percentage of people receiving food stamps, disabled individuals, individuals that have received a bachelor's degree, individuals that have completed high school, employment rates, median income, and environmental hazards.

After her analysis, Overtown, FL was selected as a case study location for possible brownfield redevelopment. Casey's ArcGIS analysis showed sea-level rise in combination with socioeconomic variables to determine correlation with the vulnerability of brownfield sites. Casey's study determined that public-private partnerships are essential to brownfield redevelopment, especially in low wealth areas that feel the disparate impacts of climate change. 

For her work, Casey received departmental honors and the University of Miami's 2019 Outstanding Marine Affairs Student Award. You can read Casey's full thesis HERE and take a closer look at her poster HERE

Casey's work will support a collaborative effort among Regional Planning Councils and other stakeholders to secure support for South Florida from the EPA's Brownfields Assessment Grant program. Thank you for your great work, Casey!

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