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Upper Mississippi Center receives community grants for watersheds project

Students inventorying local stream

Students assess the fish population in a local stream — one factor involved in determining the overall health of the watershed.

Augustana Magazine — Fall 2021

Good projects with the greatest reach take time, money and passion. Augustana students and professors are in year eight of the Sustainable Urban Watersheds research project to assess and improve the health of local streams.

“This is a chance for students even before they graduate to put their expertise and their knowledge to work helping communities solve some of their problems."

– Dr. Michael Reisner, UMC director

Augustana’s Upper Mississippi Center for Sustainable Communities (UMC) makes it all happen.

Each year, about 80 students and faculty members from several academic disciplines measure and assess contamination of urban streams flowing into the Mississippi River, sharing their data with local city managers and public works departments to use for planning and rehabilitation.

“This is a chance for students even before they graduate to put their expertise and their knowledge to work helping communities solve some of their problems,” said Dr. Michael Reisner, UMC director.

Now the community is giving back.

The watersheds project received five grants: $20,000 from the Goldstein Family Foundation to support the project; $13,300 from the Regional Development Authority to fund student internships as faculty research assistants; a $7,500 equipment grant from the Scott County Regional Authority; $5,200 from the Mark W. Schwiebert Fund for Environmental Studies; and $500 from the RI Community Foundation.

This funding will allow more students to participate — especially those enrolled in aquatic ecology, geography and GIS (geographic information systems), geology, biology and environmental studies courses.