Year Established: 2015 Start Date: 2015-03-01 End Date: 2016-02-29
Total Federal Funds: $27,973 Total Non-Federal Funds: $56,296
Principal Investigators: Lois Wolfson
Abstract: Problem: The subject of water is cross-cutting across multidisciplinary areas and is of interest and importance to people due to issues relating to availability, quality, technology, policy, economics and many other topics. Volumes of information on multiple water issues are instantly obtainable through the internet; however, some may be erroneous, biased, anecdotal, and/or less than complete. It is critical for Universities to be seen as and also serve as reputable and reliable sources of science-based information. By providing current and documented information and making sure it gets to appropriate groups, better decisions among citizens as well as law makers can be generated. Effective information dissemination 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 that must be delivered in ways that help people make more informed and better decisions concerning water resources. The information should also offer alternative solutions to problems being assessed. Methods: In order to meet the needs of people throughout the state and region, multiple modes of delivering and distributing information are required. Presenting programs in a variety of formats enables multiple groups to benefit and learn in their preferred format. While some people are more comfortable with traditional modes of communications, others desire that the information be presented using the latest available technology. Based on past formats and their evaluation, the mechanisms for this project will include: (1) developing training sessions, workshops and webinars to help users understand aquatic ecosystems and water quality issues; (2) creating and delivering lectures, demonstrations and power point presentations to varied audiences; (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 new technologies to assess and address potential problems and inform users to help with decision making and build capacity; (5) compiling, interpreting, and distributing water related information; (6) partnering with MSU Extension field and campus educators to coordinate and support programs at the local level and 7) interacting and coordinating efforts with researchers, agency personnel, other states, and professionals on multidisciplinary issues related to water issues. Objectives: The objectives of this program are to 1) remain current on new developments and issues relating to water and incorporate this information into existing and new programs; 2) 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; 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 in a co-creative process with both clientele and associates, including extension educators, faculty on campus, other agencies, environmental organizations, and other Universities in order to make water-related information readily usable and available to a vast clientele across the state.