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Ohio University hosts conference promoting environmental research in Ohio River Basin

Marissa McDaid | Oct 7, 2019
President Nellis at ORBCRE

Ohio University hosts conference promoting environmental research in Ohio River Basin

Marissa McDaid | Oct 7, 2019

Environmental researchers and students from areas surrounding the Ohio River Basin gathered at Baker University Center Oct. 2-4 for the 2019 Ohio River Basin Consortium for Research and Education (ORBCRE) Symposium.

This year’s theme, “Managing our Water in a Changing World: from Social, Environmental, and Policy Perspectives,” promoted discussion of environmental concerns within the region.

“This conference is a wonderful demonstration of one of the four themes of our new Fearlessly First University Strategic Framework, wherein we commit to pursue and support ‘Research and Knowledge Discovery in Support of Vibrant Communities,’” said Ohio University President M. Duane Nellis. “Our goal is to ‘build on the distinctive strengths of our intellectual community by harnessing research and creative activity that directly connects to the needs and interests of our region.’”

The 2019 ORBCRE Symposium was sponsored by Fondriest Environmental Products and Marshall University. The event was chaired by Russ College of Engineering and Technology Assistant Professor of Civil Engineering Danny Che, and co-chaired by Director of Environmental Programs Jennifer Bowman and Associate Professor of Environmental Studies Natalie Kruse Daniels of the Voinovich School of Leadership and Public Affairs.

"Water resources research is no longer just running complicated flood simulations, or developing complex mathematical models, or conducting chemical analyses inside a laboratory,” Che said. “Rather, water resources is a complex, inter-connected system that affect all life on earth. We hope that through this year’s symposium we can seek input from participants and presenters who can offer different angles to address regional water-related issues and stimulate solutions for the Ohio River Basin."

The three-day conference kicked off with a tour of Ohio University’s Acid Mine Drainage remediation plant in Corning, Ohio, followed by a meeting of the Ohio River Basin Alliance (ORBA) Steering Committee meeting.

On Thursday, attendees were greeted with remarks from President Nellis, Russ College of Engineering and Technology Dean Mei Wei, and the ORBCRE chairs and co-chairs. The morning featured three plenary sessions and after lunch, attendees could choose from a variety of environmental themed breakout sessions. Undergraduate and graduate researchers from Ohio University and Marshall University participated in the afternoon poster sessions.

The final day of the conference started with panels on the topics of environmental policy, and flood control and risk reduction. After a short break, the conference wrapped up in a series of breakout and technical sessions.

Bowman felt the symposium was a success.

“The ORBCRE scientific symposium offered attendees information about research and monitoring being conducted in Ohio River Basin rivers, streams, and lakes as well as GIS mapping, modeling, and environmental education, while the ORBA summit allowed a comprehensive, consensus building approach to strategic planning for Ohio River Basin priorities,” Bowman said. “I am proud that Ohio University hosted this important event to allow attendees time and space to learn together and plan for a better future of clean water in the Ohio River Basin.”