From staff reports Feb 2, 2017
Deadline extended to Dec 1st!
Elissa Welch Nov 16, 2016
The CE3 Water Program works regularly with the Appalachian Watershed Research Group (AWRG), which was initiated over a decade ago by a group of Ohio University faculty and staff from the Voinovich School. The group provides interdisciplinary, high-quality, applications-based water research for the benefit of the region. These research projects are designed to provide undergraduate and graduate students with innovative learning opportunities while also solving real-world problems. The work of the AWRG benefits watershed groups, federal, state, and local governmental agencies, non-profit organizations, local residents, businesses, and industry.
The AWRG research areas of interest include chemical, biological, and physical water quality research, acid mine drainage reclamation, aquatic outreach and education, fish and invertebrate assessment, sediment toxicity, PCB and TCE contamination in surface and groundwater, chemical water quality trainings for watershed professionals, teachers, and students, and linking of data to decision-making tools through the use of online reports, charts, maps and graphs. Students are a part of the project teams thus providing them with experience that demonstrates teamwork, builds leadership skills, and integrates teaching and learning.
Interim Director of Environmental Programs
Ohio University Voinovich School
Natalie Kruse, Ph.D.
Assistant Professor of Environmental Studies
Ohio University Voinovich School
Since 1999, the Voinovich School has coordinated the efforts to restore the Raccoon Creek Watershed from acid mine drainage. The Raccoon Creek Partnership, sponsored by Ohio University, works toward conservation, stewardship, and restoration of the watershed for a healthier stream and community. Nearly $20 million has been spent on 17 successful reclamation projects (as of 2015), resulting in improved stream health for more than 42 miles of streams in areas previously impacted by acid mine drainage. For more information visit www.raccooncreek.org or find us on Facebook. A short video titled a “Raccoon Creek a Wonder to Wander,” created by OU student, Nora Rye, and the Raccoon Creek Partnership, can be found on YouTube.
The Nonpoint Source (NPS) annual monitoring initiative and on-line reporting system for water quality was created for ODNR’s Division of Mineral Resources Management in 2005. Voinovich School staff, faculty and students continue to evaluate the success of the acid mine drainage reclamation projects throughout the coal-bearing region of Ohio in term of stream mile recovery, acid load reductions, and project costs annually. All reports, maps, water quality data, and stream health maps can be accessed at www.watersheddata.com.
In Eastern and Southern Ohio, oil and gas leases are rapidly being signed for drilling in the Utica Shale. In order to quantify impacts of shale gas exploration, baseline environmental conditions must first be measured. With start-up funding from Ohio University and The Sugar Bush Foundation, the Voinovich School partnered with OU's Institute for Sustainable Energy and the Environment Laboratory (ISEE), The Sugar Bush Foundation, and the Ohio Environmental Protection Agency to conduct a regional shallow aquifer groundwater study. This study measured baseline water quality parameters prior to the commencement of controversial high-volume horizontal hydraulic fracturing drilling activities in and around Athens and Belmont Counties in Ohio.
Findings: The baseline establishment suggests that there is not widespread organic groundwater pollution in Athens and Belmont Counties, despite a long history of coal mining and oil and gas extraction. This information will assist rural landowners, elected officials and regulators to learn more about the complex issues surrounding hydraulic fracturing, especially as it relates to local water resources. Read the 2013 final report here.