Year Established: 2011 Start Date: 2011-03-01 End Date: 2012-02-28
Total Federal Funds: $25,920 Total Non-Federal Funds: $53,364
Principal Investigators: Lois Wolfson
The age of technology has provided a convenient and readily available means of obtaining information on almost any topic. The subject of water cuts across multiple disciplines, and volumes of information exist on the topic. However, much of this information is unverified, biased and sometimes incorrect. Providing current and documented science based information is crucial to support good decision-making among citizens as well as law makers. It is imperative that Universities continue to serve as a reputable source for accurate science-based information. An effective information dissemination program focused on water resources issues should provide multiple mechanisms for transferring current research to user groups and diverse audiences and offer alternative solutions to problems being assessed.
A variety of formats can and will be employed to enhance the usability and distribution of information on water resources. For this project, mechanisms will include: (1) developing training sessions and workshops to help users understand aquatic ecosystems and water quality issues; (2) creating and delivering lectures/demonstrations and power point presentations to user groups, environmental organizations, and students; (3) developing, organizing and co-coordinating technical and non-technical conferences that address current and emerging water related issues; (4) developing web-based interactive programs that utilize geographic information systems, models, decision-support systems and new techniques to assess and address potential problems and visualize areas within watersheds; (5) establishing a point of contact at Michigan State University to compile, interpret, and distribute water related information as well as to direct users to appropriate sources of expertise and information; (6) partnering with Michigan State University Extension field educators to coordinate and support programs at the local level and 7) interacting with researchers, agency personnel, other states, and professionals on multidisciplinary issues related to water quality and quantity.
The objectives of this program are to 1) develop and present educational programs designed to increase the public's awareness, knowledge and appreciation of the water quality and quantity problems in Michigan and suggest changes in practices or behavior that lead to improvement of the resource; 2) provide information, tools, and models to address environmental and economic complexities required to solve real world water related problems; 3) address high priority and emerging issues; 4) evaluate the projects disseminated and incorporate lessons learned into new programs; 5) develop programs in a variety of formats that suit the needs of individuals and user groups, including conferences, seminars, training workshops, computer models, web-based programs, and printed material; and 6) coordinate and develop multidisciplinary projects with extension educators within Michigan State University Extension, faculty on campus, other agencies, environmental organizations, and other Universities to make water-related information readily available to a vast clientele across the state.