Vincent Encomio, a former director of scientific research at the Florida Oceanographic Society, has been named the Florida Sea Grant agent with UF/IFAS Extension in Martin and St. Lucie counties, located along Florida’s Treasure Coast north of West Palm Beach.
In his new role, Encomio will be developing educational programming related to coastal habitat restoration, restoration aquaculture and water quality. He also plans to focus on building “living shorelines,” a phrase that describes shoreline restoration techniques that use natural materials such as oysters, mangroves and marsh grasses.
At his previous job, Encomio spent 10 years expanding the Florida Oceanographic Society’s oyster and shoreline restoration programs. He hopes to bring this expertise to Florida Sea Grant.
“I hope to not only help natural resources, such as oysters in the area, but also get the local communities within Martin and St. Lucie counties involved. When citizens feel empowered,they work harder to protect their coasts,” Encomio said.
“Building living shorelines is a great way to not only make our coasts more healthy and resilient, but also involve the community in restoration efforts. There is great potential to develop training opportunities in this realm for professionals along the Treasure Coast,” he added.
Encomio received his master’s degree in marine biology from San Francisco State University and his Ph.D. in marine science from the Virginia Institute of Marine Science at the College of William and Mary. For his dissertation, Encomio studied the disease tolerance in oysters and its application to aquaculture. His post-doctoral work at Florida Gulf Coast University focused on the effects of freshwater releases on wild and cultured shellfish populations.
In 2010 and 2014, he received the Martin County Environmental Stewardship award for oyster gardening and living shorelines projects.
“Vincent brings practical skills and community connections that will allow Florida Sea Grant and UF/IFAS Extension to not only expand existing programs, but create new ones that will make lasting impressions in Martin and St. Lucie counties,” said Martin Main, associate director of extension for Florida Sea Grant.
Encomio can be contacted at his office at 2614 SE Dixie Hwy in Stuart, by phone at (772) 419-6966, or by email at email@example.com.