Year Established: 2013 Start Date: 2013-03-01 End Date: 2014-02-28
Total Federal Funds: $18,000 Total Non-Federal Funds: $36,000
Principal Investigators: Lois Wolfson
Abstract: Problem Factual, science based information is paramount to an effective information and dissemination program. Volumes of information exist on the subject of water, but much of it is unverified, biased and sometimes incorrect. With a plethora of information instantly obtainable through the internet, it is critical for Universities to be seen as and also serve as reputable and reliable sources of information. Providing current and documented science based information and making sure it gets to appropriate groups is crucial to support good decision-making among citizens as well as law makers. To be effective at information dissemination, the program needs to provide multiple mechanisms for transferring timely, accurate, unbiased and current research-based information to user groups and diverse audiences interested in water related issues. It should also offer alternative solutions to problems being assessed. The Institute of Water Research meets these needs by constantly expanding upon its information dissemination and training program and linking programs. Methods Multiple modes of delivery and distribution help meet the needs of a wide range of clientele. By presenting programs in a variety of formats, the IWR is able to make its information available to multiple groups, some of who are more comfortable with traditional modes of communications and others who desire the latest available technology. Formats that have been and will be used in the offering of programs include computer-based systems, on-site demonstrations, trainings and workshops, and group presentations. Specifically, 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 (3) developing, organizing and co-coordinating technical and non-technical conferences; (4) developing web-based interactive programs to assess and address potential problems and visualize areas within watersheds; (5) developing webinars and web based self-help tutorials (6) compiling, interpreting, and distributing water related information to appropriate sources of expertise and information; (7) partnering with Michigan State University Extension field and campus educators; and (8) interacting with researchers, agency personnel, other states, and professionals on multidisciplinary. Objectives 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 present alternatives in practices or behavior that lead to improvement of the resource; 2) incorporate new information on water into existing programs and coordinate and link IWR programs to solve complex water issues; 3) provide hands-on tools and models to address environmental and economic complexities required to solve real world water related problems; 4) address high priority and emerging issues; 5) evaluate the projects disseminated and incorporate lessons learned into new programs; 6) develop programs in a variety of formats that suit the needs of individuals and user groups; and 7) 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.