The District’s Springs Team is leading the effort to improve water clarity and habitat in west-central Florida’s springs.
Chris J. Anastasiou, Ph.D.
Chris Anastasiou is a chief scientist and the leader of the Springs Team.
Anastasiou was raised in Florida and has nearly 20 years experience in water resource management of coastal ecosystems and springs. He began his scientific career with the District in 1994 sampling wells as a water resource technician. Since then, Anastasiou has distinguished himself as a leader throughout the Gulf Coast, having worked two years at Louisiana State University helping to restore the Mississippi River Delta; five years with the District’s Surface Water Improvement and Management (SWIM) Program; and six years with the Florida Department of Environmental Protection. Anastasiou also serves on the board of the Tampa Bay Association of Environmental Professionals.
In 1994, Anastasiou received his bachelor’s degree in geography with a minor in geology from the University of South Florida (USF). In 2001, while working as a staff scientist for the District’s SWIM program, he received his Master of Science in ecology and identified ways to improve saltmarsh restoration. In 2009, Anastasiou graduated with his doctorate from USF’s College of Marine Science in St. Petersburg, where he worked on NASA- and NOAA-funded projects, applying remote sensing and optical modeling to seagrass management.
Anastasiou also is a lieutenant commander in the Navy Reserves. He received his commission in 2004 and is a Naval Meteorology and Oceanography officer at Naval Station Mayport near Jacksonville.
Ron Basso, P.G.
Ron Basso is a chief hydrogeologist. He has nearly 30 years of experience in groundwater modeling, resource regulation and resource management activities.
Basso’s role on the Springs Team is to assess the geology of the region and evaluate how groundwater withdrawals affect spring flow.
As a long-time resident of the area, Basso not only works with springs, but has spent leisure time fishing and kayaking in these systems.
“This work is very important to me as a resident living in the springs’ backyard,” he said. “I treasure these springs and I’m going to do the best job I can to protect them.”
Basso earned a Bachelor of Science in geology from the University of South Florida (USF) in 1985. He also earned a master’s degree in hydrogeology from the USF in 2000.
Vivianna Bendixson is an environmental scientist in the District’s Water Supply section. She is leading the team responsible for creating a program to provide funding for septic-to-sewer projects. These projects benefit spring systems in numerous ways, including the reduction of nutrient loading in springsheds.
In addition to the septic-to-sewer projects, she also manages water conservation projects and participates on the Leak Detection Team, to aid utilities with improved water use efficiency. She also contributes to the Water Conservation Initiative planning ways to achieve per capita goals. She has worked at the District since 2015.
Bendixson said she is excited to be part of a team that is dedicated to the study and protection of springs.
“In Florida, the past, present, and future are closely tied to springs,” Bendixson explained. “We must understand the springs in order to protect them and protect our future.”
Prior to the District, Bendixson worked in environmental solutions for nearly 10 years. Her career experience ranges from time in a desert environment to the study of karst and remote island water resources.
She holds a bachelor’s degree in environmental science with a focus on industrial hygiene from the College of Santa Fe and a master’s degree in environmental science with a focus on hydrogeology from the University of Guam.
Married to a veteran, Bendixson has lived in multiple regions of the U.S. but now calls Tampa home. She spends her free time training for paddling races in 1-person and 6-person Hawaiian outrigger canoes.
Dave J. DeWitt, P.G.
David J. DeWitt is a chief professional geologist with the Water Quality Monitoring Program.
DeWitt’s role on the Springs Team is to assess the geology and hydrogeology of a springshed. In addition, he collects and analyzes water chemistry in springs.
For more than 25 years, DeWitt has been working on groundwater resources in Florida, including springs monitoring, test drilling, and monitor-well design and construction. During the past 15 years, he has been involved with water quality research on springs in west-central Florida and across the state.
“Springs are a really important resource here in the state,” DeWitt said. “They are basically a window into the aquifer… the same supply of water we rely on for all uses here in the District.”
DeWitt was the District’s representative on the Florida Springs Task Force for the Florida Department of Environmental Protection Florida Springs Initiative.
DeWitt is a 1986 graduate of the University of South Florida, with a bachelor’s degree in geology, and has been a licensed professional geologist in Florida since 1994.
Kristina Mallams, P.G.
Kristina Mallams is a professional geologist with the District’s Water Quality Monitoring Program in the Data Collection Bureau.
She facilitates data management and the loading of water quality data into the District’s database. This data is used to assist in the monitoring of saltwater intrusion and the establishing of Minimum Flows and Levels.
Mallams began her career at the District in 2008. She regularly answers questions from the public, District staff and key stakeholders regarding water quality, geology, hydrology and hydrogeology.
Mallams hopes to emphasize both the recreational and environmental value of the District’s springs.
“Springs are a precious and unique feature of Florida,” she said. “They provide Floridians and tourists with many recreational opportunities such as swimming, cave diving and wildlife watching. Springs also are thought to be a window into the aquifer. To help protect the springs for future generations, I help collect accurate water quality data used to monitor the water quality in several springs within the District’s boundary.”
Mallams earned a Bachelor of Science from the University of South Florida (USF) in 2007 and a Master of Science in geology from USF in 2013. She became a professional geologist in 2017.
In her spare time, Mallams and her husband Jerry Mallams, who also works for the District, care for their three small children and relish spending time outdoors. She enjoys biking, running, walks with her family and visiting Florida beaches.
Sky Notestein is the Springs and Environmental Flows Section manager who joined the District in September 2014.
Notestein has more than 15 years of work experience in the academic and private consulting sectors studying the ecology of aquatic ecosystems. Notestein’s role on the Springs Team is to manage restoration projects, work with other agencies on springs issues and educate the public about the District’s ongoing efforts to restore the springs.
His work experience includes roles as a research and program coordinator while at the University of Florida (UF), being a regional volunteer coordinator with Florida Lakewatch, and leading multiple springs projects as a consulting environmental scientist.
“I really enjoy the diversity of the springs projects I have participated in; from conducting wildlife surveys, to mapping aquatic plant communities, to measuring springs discharge, or collecting water chemistry samples,” Notestein said. “I have great childhood memories of visiting springs and I strive to ensure that future generations will have similar positive memories. It has always been a privilege to work in these special environments.”
Notestein earned a Bachelor of Science in Wildlife Ecology and Conservation with a Zoology minor from UF in 1997. He completed a Master of Science degree in 2001 from UF’s Department of Fisheries and Aquatic Sciences with a specialization in river and estuarine ecology. The focus of his thesis research was on the spring-fed, coastal Chassahowitzka River with emphasis on the relationships between surface water nutrients and aquatic plant communities.
Danielle Rogers is an Environmental Science Project Lead in the Natural Systems and Restoration Bureau.
Her role on the Springs Team is to manage springs restoration projects and to work with the community to identify and implement projects that are beneficial for the springs.
“I am excited to work with such an impressive team,” she said. “This opportunity to work with such amazing technical experts on systems as important as our springs is remarkable. I think we will be able to accomplish some amazing things in the future working with the community and integrating technology.”
Rogers is a Florida native, raised in Brooksville, and has worked for the District for nine years. Prior to joining the District, she worked as environmental specialist for the Florida Department of Environmental Protection and a project technician in the private sector. Her experience is in coastal wetlands, regulatory programs and geographic information systems (GIS).
In her spare time, Rogers enjoys exploring various recreational opportunities Florida offers.
She earned a Bachelor of Arts in Marine Affairs and Policy at the University of Miami in 2002. A year later, she received a Master of Arts in Marine Affairs and Policy from the University of Miami, Rosenstiel School of Marine and Atmospheric Science. Her program focused heavily on understanding cumulative and secondary impacts in ecosystems, coastal law, and translating scientific information into policy that could be useful and understood by the community. While in school, Rogers researched federal environmental mitigation programs in the Florida Keys with a focus on their effectiveness and their coordination with environmental-permitting regulatory programs.
Robin Speidel is a scientific technician who works a hybrid position supporting the District’s Water Quality Monitoring Program (WQMP). Speidel’s responsibilities include maintaining the District’s continuous monitoring water quality stations along with water quality sampling, and field data collection.
Since 2016, Speidel has played an integral role in the implementation and oversight of the District’s nine near-real-time continuous monitoring stations. In addition, he assists the WQMP throughout their surface and groundwater sampling evolutions to assess the state of 78 springs throughout the District.
As a native Floridian, Speidel has a strong interest in the prosperity of Florida’s natural resources.
“My grandparents were huge conservationists who always cared about the environment and put an emphasis on that with me. It’s actually a privilege to get out and collect data, which will help preserve the springs long-term,” Speidel remarked. “There is a long history of my family here. Being able to carry that history on means something to me.”
Speidel earned his Bachelor of Science in Geology from the University of South Florida and has completed graduate classes in advanced hydrology and geochemistry.
Speidel is a proud veteran of the United States Marine Corps, and his esprit de corps is evident in all that he does. He likes to spend his free time outdoors by hiking, photographing nature and free-diving.