Karst Underwater Research (KUR) and the Woodville Karst Plain Project (WKPP) have reached an agreement to leverage resources of both organizations in a collaborative effort to enhance cave exploration, mapping and research support efforts across Florida. Both organizations are accomplished, recognized 501c3 scientific research entities with solid track records of delivering results for their partners including DEP - Florida Park Service. Ongoing special use permit projects include Weeki Wachee, Twin Dees and Wakulla Springs. Both organizations are also engaged in cave exploration and research support efforts within the SW Florida, Suwannee River and NW Florida Water Management Districts in addition to numerous sites on federal and private property. WKPP Project Director Casey McKinlay and KUR Directors Brett Hemphill and Andy Pitkin will coordinate all future efforts.

WKPP Project Director Casey McKinlay:
“The WKPP has been actively exploring, mapping and supporting research within the Woodville Karst Plain for more than 23 years. Changing weather patterns, increased development, salt water intrusion and politics are just some of the current challenges but we remain committed to extending the Wakulla Cave System to the Gulf of Mexico and tying in adjacent cave systems using all available resources. Time is not on our side and the window for completing this work is limited. Partnering with Brett, Andy and the KUR team compliments the existing WKPP capabilities and provides us with expertise in a number of areas including restrictive, low profile cave exploration and cave radio mapping (Mike Poucher). Andy and Brett have an impressive “team” track record of exploring and mapping some incredibly deep, complex cave systems along with a proven history with the State of Florida in delivering critical data needed to manage and protect some of Florida’s most precious freshwater resources. Combined, the WKPP and KUR have more than 30 years of cave exploration experience including excellent safety records operating in some of the most extreme cave environments. I expect the response from our partners, including the State of Florida, to be positive as both groups represent the very best in what can be accomplished through public-private partnerships working together to achieve results for the citizens of Florida and protection of our limited fresh water resources. Andy and Brett are driven explorers who understand the big picture and the WKPP looks forward to working with them and the KUR team.

KUR director Andy Pitkin:
“This is an exciting partnership between two organizations that have complementary skillsets and similar goals. The WKPP has an excellent track record of safe, productive exploration with a strong team ethos and we look forward to working with them. This collaboration will allow KUR and the WKPP to share their resources of equipment, personnel and expertise in a way that is mutually beneficial to everyone involved. "

Both KUR and the WKPP encourage and support involvement from all capable, team focused cave divers and researchers. We welcome applications and inquiries. Please email Casey McKinlay (wkpp@cox.net) or Andy Pitkin (Andrew.pitkin@gmail.com) for more information.

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