Iowa State University
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News Service

News Service:

Annette Hacker, director,
(515) 294-3720

Office: (515) 294-4777

03-08-06

Contacts:

Rick Cruse, Iowa Water Center, (515) 294-7850, rmc@iastate.edu

Jack Riessen, Iowa Department of Natural Resources, (515) 281-5029

Brian Meyer, Agriculture Communications, (515) 294-5616

Teddi Barron, News Service, (515) 294-4778

Iowa Water Center to stimulate new research and outreach

AMES, Iowa -- With a new name and a new director, a 42-year-old program to stimulate water research, outreach and education in Iowa is experiencing a revitalization.

The Iowa Water Center located at Iowa State University encourages interdisciplinary efforts to address critical and emerging water issues. The former name of the program was the Iowa State Water Resources Research Institute. It was created in 1964 as part of the federal Water Resources Act. Each state has a similar institute or center.

Rick Cruse has been named director of the center. Cruse is an ISU professor of agronomy and coordinator of a College of Agriculture initiative emphasizing water quality.

"The need for water quality research, education and outreach is even more critical today than it was in 1964," said Cruse. "There's a wealth of experience and information in Iowa's universities, colleges and agencies. Our aim is to create a center of excellence that reflects the outstanding water research and education programs found throughout Iowa."

Jack Riessen of the Iowa Department of Natural Resources, who has served in an advisory capacity to the program in the past, said, "We envision the center providing Iowans with an independent, authoritative voice on water issues affecting Iowa. The center should be the source of the best science findings that are relevant to Iowa's problems."

Cruse said the Iowa Water Center can play a vital role in identifying critical water research and outreach needs. "The center will determine gaps that need to be filled and develop plans to meet those needs," he said. "The center will bring researchers and extension professionals together to prepare funding proposals to support the activities."

As in the past, the center will provide small amounts of seed money to begin some studies. Scientists will leverage the center's funds to attract grants and other funds.

In the past, results of the center's research were not widely disseminated. "We will renew a strong emphasis on outreach," said Cruse. "The Iowa Water Center will be a clearinghouse for research information that is accessible to water resource professionals, policy-makers and the public."

Cruse has been a faculty member at Iowa State since 1979. He coordinates the Agricultural Systems Initiative, a College of Agriculture research program studying how farming systems can maximize profitability and environmental quality, and particularly water quality. Initiative research is studying how watershed design impacts water quality; identifying watershed characteristics with the greatest influence on surface water quality; and examining areas of Iowa that may be well-suited for growing alternative crops.

The Iowa Water Center is administered by the Office of the Vice Provost for Research and the Office of the Vice Provost for Extension. The U.S. Geological Survey provides funding for the center. The Iowa Water Center will organize an advisory council in the near future.

Note to editors: Dr. Cruse is working in Hungary until April 9, but will respond to questions via his e-mail address listed above.

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Quick look

The Iowa Water Center -- formerly the Iowa State Water Resources Research Institute -- encourages interdisciplinary efforts to address critical and emerging water issues. Rick Cruse has been named director of the center. Cruse is professor of agronomy and coordinates the College of Agriculture initiative emphasizing water.

Quote

"We envision the center providing Iowans with an independent, authoritative voice on water issues affecting Iowa. The center should be the source of the best science findings that are relevant to Iowa's problems."

Jack Riessen, Iowa Department of Natural Resources