Friday, November 23, 2007

UW-M To Boost Its WATER Institute...Great Minds Think Alike

I was very happy to read on Thursday's big Thanksgiving day Milwaukee Journal Sentinel front page that UW-M and local leaders are coordinating a research and business strategy to put the city out front on water issues.

We've got Lake Michigan and a host of water-rich businesses already here, nicely positioned for growth and advancement as water becomes a hotter topic in a warming climate.

So why not build on UW-M's outstanding, but somewhat overlooked Great Lakes WATER (Wisconsin Aquatic Technology and Environmental Research) Institute, and its fortuitous proximity to the Great Lakes - - all to make the school and city the unquestioned leader in water science, policy and industry?

Then I remembered reading something similar..somewhere...twice, actually, making the same argument - - that UW-M needed to rediscover, upgrade and promote its WATER Institute to put itself in a leadership position in water science and policy development.

Where was it? Where was it?

Then I remembered: Right here on this blog - - months ago.

I'm humbly reprinting those posting below, and I'll continue to support UW-M's efforts to elevate the WATER Institute and related efforts to help Milwaukee become the world capital of water science and business:

Monday, March 26, 2007

Scientists Clean Up Everything From Bad Plumbing To Bad Policy

For years, UW-Milwaukee has been scratching its collective bureaucratic head and wondering: "How can we position ourselves as a science and research center?"

It has looked westward to UW-Madison with envy, as that university campus assumed leadership and won decades of grants in biotech and other sciences.

But through inertia, or some other human tendency to overlook institutions or people already on the scene that consistently perform at a high level, UW-Milwaukee has failed to capitalize on its Great Lakes WATER Institute - - even though its staff and expertise are key ingredients in the push for conservation, water-based public health, and Great Lakes sustainability.

Around here, those are pretty hot topics.

Case in point: WATER Institute professor Sandra McLellan, an expert in water and beach quality, has found that dangerous E. coli bacteria is on Bradford Beach where stormwater pipes owned by Milwaukee County routinely deposit polluted water.

McLellan also has noted - - and it's a point consistently worth repeating - - that while polluted stormwater presents the most serious dangers to public health, the general public misperception, shaped by media, is that sewage overflows, not stormwater pollution, presents the major public risk.

So the WATER Institute affects the public understanding of issues and risk factors, and can have an impact on policies that fix problems, too. For a university looking for greater research credibility, that sounds like a mission statement.

Similarly, McLellan helped Miller Park discover that it was inadvertently sending human waste into the Menomonee River.

It is known among scientists and regulators that the wrong plumbing connection at Miller Park is not the only mistaken or accidental source of fecal pollution ending up in the area's rivers, streams and lakes.

Elsewhere, WATER Institute professors are bringing years of experience with the region's groundwater into the debate over water resource management, and specifically into whether possible diversions from Lake Michigan are the wisest and most sustainable activities.

These UW-M scientists have created fact sheets and power point presentations about the region's water supply, all of which helps inject top-flight data, computer models and informed opinion into the water debate.

Along with colleagues in related agencies, WATER Institute personnel are getting solid information into studies and eventual recommendations by the regional planning commission (SEWRPC) and a state legislative study committee on the Great Lake Compact.

Materials posted by The US Geological Survey, and another scientific team that works closely with the WATER Institute here are helping policy-makers interpret differently Waukesha's suggestion that it was already part of the Lake Michigan basin through what it called "tributary groundwater."

So UW-Milwaukee doesn't have to look much farther than its Great Lakes WATER Institute for a research identity and anchor.

What the school needs is a media and grant-writing strategy to better promote and utilize the experts it already has on board, and who are well-connected with a larger scientific community, but are sometimes unappreciated.

The Great Lakes WATER Institute can become the authoritative site for information and policy recommendations about Great Lakes water conservation and resource management.

Posted by James Rowen at 8:14 AM
And there was this posting, too:

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Editorial Call For A Center For The Great Lakes

From Michigan, a plea for one coordinated center for Great Lakes' water-related study.

An excellent idea, one that UW-Milwaukee should jump on because it already runs the Great Lakes WATER Institute, has world-class experts with expertise in surface and underground water, and could easily morph into a broader research institution.

UW-M's administration should leverage its existing resources and make itself a key regional player - - in this case, the region being the Great Lakes basin - - in water policy.

Posted by James Rowen at 2:18 PM

1 comment:

Dave said...

Agreed and that research should be centered in the city not in Tosa!