UGA River Basin Center receives merit award

UGA River Basin Center receives merit award from Georgia chapter of the Soil and Water Conservation Society

Athens, Ga. – A team from the University of Georgia River Basin Center and The Georgia Conservancy has received a 2007 merit award from the state chapter of the Soil and Water Conservation Society. The award recognizes Laurie Fowler, co-director of the center; David Radcliffe, a professor of crop and soil sciences and member of the RBC Advisory Council; and Shana Udvardy, a policy analyst at the Georgia Conservancy and UGA graduate, for their work in establishing the Georgia Total Maximum Daily Load Technical Advisory Groups.

“This is wonderful recognition by the Soil and Water Conservation Society of the collaborative and interdisciplinary aspect of our work,” Fowler said. “We’ve convened people from across the state to ensure that this key component of the Clean Water Act is used effectively to restore our impaired waters.”

The total maximum daily load (TMDL) is the amount of a pollutant that a water body can absorb without violating water quality standards. Under the Clean Water Act, states are required to set acceptable pollutant levels for water bodies that fail to meet their designated uses, such as drinking, fishing or swimming.

In 2000, the center and the conservancy initiated the first Georgia TMDL technical advisory group, which focused on sediment, the most common pollutant in state waters. The group was composed of scientists from universities, federal and state agencies and non-governmental organizations representing regionally diverse interests and concerns.

In 2002, the groups convened a similar panel focused on bacteria, and in March hosted a workshop on improving Georgia’s TMDL program.

The Conservation Society gives merit awards on the basis of exemplifying its mission to foster the science and the art of soil, water and related natural resource management toward achieving sustainability. The establishment of the technical advisory groups will ensure improved water quality throughout the state.

The River Basin Center is the public service and outreach office of the Institute of Ecology. The center’s mission is to integrate science and policymaking, particularly relating to the intersection of land use with water quality/quantity and biodiversity issues. For more information, see http://www.rivercenter.uga.edu.

With roots dating to the 1950’s, the Institute of Ecology at the University of Georgia offers undergraduate and graduate degrees and certification programs. Founder Eugene P. Odum is an internationally recognized pioneer of ecosystem ecology. The institute is ranked eighth by U.S. News and World Report for its graduate program. For more information, see http://www.ecology.uga.edu.