Year Established: 2017 Start Date: 2017-03-01 End Date: 2018-02-28
Total Federal Funds: $9,912 Total Non-Federal Funds: $23,966
Principal Investigators: Lois Wolfson, Darrell Donahue
Abstract: Problem Both water quality and quantity issues pervade almost all aspects of our lives, from economics to health to recreation. Citizens of the state of Michigan are fortunate to live in a water-rich state with over 11,000 inland lakes, 36,000 miles of streams, 5.5 million acres of wetlands, a vast groundwater supply, and 20% of the world’s freshwater surface supply within the Great Lakes. The overall quality of these waters are good to excellent. With this benefit comes a responsibility to wisely protect and manage this critical resource to maintain or improve the current status of the waters of the State. A detailed understanding of impacts they may be incurred from land use activities, nonpoint source pollution, wetland degradation, invasive species, water withdrawals, and how decisions and actions might affect water is essential for long term sustainability of Michigan’s waters. Science-based knowledge and the delivery of that information to decision makers, educators, citizens, industry and business help to protect and maintain this enormous resource. Methods As part of the technology transfer program, the Institute has responded to critical water issues facing Michigan citizens and has been proactive in the development of programs, workshops, demonstrations, and online decision support tools. Through its programs, the Institute provides steps that individuals, groups, communities, or the state can take to address these issues. Effective dissemination of any project must be timely, accurate, unbiased and research-based, and meet the needs of diverse audiences. Many modes of information exchange have been used to enhance the overall project, reach new audiences and develop new programs through a co-creative process. From evaluations of previous programs, the Institute continually builds on its offerings, but also creates new programs to address evolving issues and meet user needs. Methods to address these complex and often multiple issues include: (1) developing statewide and regional conferences that address current and emerging water related issues; (2) developing training sessions and workshops to help users understand aquatic ecosystems and water quality issues; (3) developing web-based interactive programs that utilize new technologies to inform users to help with decision making; (4) partnering with MSU Extension field and campus educators to coordinate and support programs at the local level and (5) interacting and coordinating efforts with researchers, agency personnel, and professionals on water related issues. 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 developments and issues into existing and new programs; 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; and 7) coordinate and develop multidisciplinary projects in a co-creative process with both clientele and associates.