Year Established: 2012 Start Date: 2012-03-01 End Date: 2013-02-28
Total Federal Funds: $22,236 Total Non-Federal Funds: $44,958
Principal Investigators: Jon Bartholic
Abstract: Problem: To protect and restore the nation’s waters, federal and state agencies are increasingly utilizing a watershed approach to examine and address water resources problems. The overall goal of this approach is the restoration, maintenance and protection of water resources across the country. The Institute of Water Research at Michigan State University is also looking at water resources on a watershed basis and is working to develop programs and partnerships within a watershed framework. Because of our Institute's long-term position relative to national and state water programs, we function as a coordinator to assist with linkages, support education, research, and outreach with and among agencies in the broad water arena. Accordingly, we are in a unique position to facilitate watershed policy, planning, and management using a multi-disciplinary perspective. Our proposed efforts include three major thrusts. The first is the enhancement of integrated watershed systems including both surface and groundwater that can be used for analysis of various management options. The second is extended education where the internet and advanced computer systems as well as traditional conferences and training workshops are used to extend new knowledge to agencies, organizations, and local level watershed and land use groups. The third involves developing a networking infrastructure to facilitate cooperation among partners such as the USDA, Natural Resource Conservation Service, USEPA, Army Corp of Engineers, the Great Lakes Commission, state Departments of Natural Resources, Environmental Quality, and Agriculture, The Nature Conservancy (TNC), township associations and county organizations. As one of the leaders of the Midwest Spatial Decision Support System Partnership (MWSDSS) (http://www.epa.gov/waterspace/) we have extensive regional impact. Methods: Our methods will be guided by Advisory Teams comprised of representatives from environmental/conservation groups, policy groups, business/industry/utilities, agricultural organizations, state planners, and citizens. Thus, the first outcome, in addition to providing inputs as systems develop, will be the role of the Advisory Team’s willingness to serve in a key outreach capacity. Objectives: 1. Integrate research concepts and activities in watershed systems and extended education through a networking infrastructure of organizations and digital communication pathways with integrated distributed data sources and partners (Fig. 1). 2. Continue development and refinement of a computer/network based Natural Resources Integrated Information System with graphical interface and search mechanisms to access models, data, information, and interactive web-based GIS/graphic tools (Fig. 2) which is evolving in to the National Resources Spatial Decision Support System. 3. Promote use of the system to graduate students to: a) facilitate their research, b) see how their study is part of a larger system, and c) gain experience with its power for enhancing research, technology, and information transfer and communication for informed natural resource policy, planning, and management decisions. 4. Continue to feed new research findings and web tools into the highly successful series of MSU Virtual University Watershed Courses that have over 50 students per year seeking either academic credit or a certificate.