Dr. Scott H. Emery has been involved in environmental management issues in the Tampa Bay area for over 30 years in varied positions such as the Environmental Director of the West Coast Regional Water Supply Authority, a consultant, and most recently, he retired in 2015 from his position as Wetlands Director at the Environmental Protection Commission of Hillsborough County. Dr. Emery first became interested in ecology as a child, exploring a nearby wildlife refuge in upstate New York. He obtained his bachelor's degree at Williams College in Massachusetts and conducted research in their experimental forest. Dr. Emery transitioned to aquatic research while pursuing a master’s degree at Clemson University and followed with a doctorate at the State University of New York at Stony Brook.
In this interview, Dr. Emery discusses his work as a consultant in various Florida wetlands management projects and the history of the water wars over well fields owned by Pasco, Hillsborough, and Pinellas counties. Dr. Emery also talks about the economics and politics of water use in the Tampa Bay area, the value of natural resource economics, and quantifying the short and long-term benefits of preserving the environment.