riparian rap

SIUC wins NSF grant to train watershed scientists

Several of our friends and collaborators at SIUC have been awarded $3.2 million by the NSF IGERT program to develop an elite watershed science and policy program. Nicholas Pinter is leading the effort, and our collaborators Matt Whiles, Lizette Chevalier, John Nicklow, Jim Garvey and others will be key players.

The program will recuit top notch PhD candidates. Though Southern Illinois is a wonderful place, it’s not always easy to get the cream of the crop to come here. This program will do that. From today’s SIUC news release:

Nicholas Pinter, professor of geology and principal investigator on the project, said the Watershed Science and Policy program also involves SIUC researchers from educational psychology, forestry, agricultural economics, microbiology, and fisheries. The team will work together to provide the doctoral students with a varied and diverse background on solving watershed and river basin issues.

“We are looking at training 18 to 20 national-caliber scientists,” Pinter said. “This doctorate fellowship program will train students as cutting-edge watershed scientists at SIUC, which is shaping itself as a center of excellence in this area of study.

“SIUC has wanted one of these IGERT grants for a long time and watersheds are an area of strength here at the University,” Pinter said. “Our faculty have been doing national and international work in this area for years and we thought this was our chance to land the grant. It was the right combination of people and the right timing…a very good fit.”

Plans call for three groups of students working as a team and conducting research toward earning their doctorate. Each group will work in a target river basin of key interest, including the Cache River, Atchafalaya River, Middle Mississippi River and the Tisza River in Europe. In addition to classes and seminars, students also will perform internships with various government agencies and other organizations and all will take at least one extended, two-week tour of a foreign country to observe watershed management practices there, Pinter said.

Photo is of my wife Kate on the middle Cache River, one of the study sites.