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Water research initiatives at UW-Madison

Reporters looking for fresh environmental research angles for Earth Day (April 22) - or for environmental coverage throughout the year - can find scores of newsworthy projects at UW-Madison related to water resources, from groundwater to the Great Lakes. The following tipsheet describes ten current water research projects that may be of interest to media, including:
  • The Wisconsin Buffer Initiative
  • 'Rain gardens' as a way to restore urban ground water
  • Erosion monitoring on the shores of Lake Superior
  • Conflicts over drinking water in the Middle East
  • The health of Wisconsin River flood plains
  • Outreach efforts for local water improvement projects
  • Tracing mercury, antibiotics and endocrine disruptors in water
  • An online library for state water resources

WISCONSIN BUFFER INITIATIVE TO TARGET KEY WATERSHEDS

The coalition of farmers, environmental groups, state regulators and scientists that comprise the "Wisconsin Buffer Initiative" is closing in on solutions to the contentious issue of riparian buffer zones on state waterways. Buffers are strips of vegetation near rivers and streams that help remove sediment and pollutants from runoff before it enters the stream. The initiative's key question: Amid thousands of miles of state waterways, how does Wisconsin use limited resources to place buffers where they are most needed? UW-Madison limnologist Jake Vander Zanden and others made a significant contribution this year with the completion of a statewide matrix of 1,600 hydrological zones that can be used to prioritize watersheds most suited for riparian controls. According to UW-Madison rural sociologist and WBI coordinator Pete Nowak, the zones will be used to identify two types of waterways: Degraded water that will respond positively to buffer improvements, and exceptional water that cannot remain exceptional without buffer technology. Those will get top priorit
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Contact: Brian Mattmiller
bsmattmi@wisc.edu
608-262-0930
University of Wisconsin-Madison
18-Apr-2005


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