As a friend of AWW, you probably already know that hundreds of citizen monitors volunteer hundreds of hours each year in stewardship of streams, rivers, lakes, bays and bayous statewide (you may BE one of those monitors!). Volunteers that have been trained and certified in water quality monitoring (water chemistry, bacteriological, stream biomonitoring) have tested over 2,200 sites on 800+ waterbodies over the past two decades, and achieved waterbody upgrades, resolution of countless water pollution problems, and education of thousands of youth and adults in aquatic ecology, water quality and watershed stewardship. What would happen if AWW were to cease?
Well, thankfully, AWW is alive and well, and continuing its evolution as the AWW Program navigates the treacherous waters of diminishing dollars from all sources. Before his retirement, AWW founder, Bill Deutsch, worked long and hard to secure a bright future for the Program. After 26 years of service, Dr. Deutsch submitted his papers and retired in June of this year. But not to worry, the AWW staff has him on speed-dial, and he will still be working closely with AWW and Global Water Watch. Please MARK YOUR CALENDARS and join us in the celebration of his career this October (stay tuned to our website for details, www.alabamawaterwatch.org).
And thanks to Sam Fowler, Director of the AU Water Resources Center, Gary Lemme, Director of the Alabama Cooperative Extension System, William Batchelor, Dean of the AU College of Agriculture and Director of the Alabama Agricultural Experiment Station, and David Rouse, Director of the newly-formed School of Fisheries, Aquaculture, and Aquatic Sciences (formerly the Department of Fisheries and Allied Aquacultures), AWW’s future is a bright one! As of July 2013, AWW merged with the AU Water Resources Center, under the leadership of Sam Fowler.
Dr. Fowler has been supportive of the AWW Program for many years, and has now provided us with a secure home as a part of the Water Resources Center. Eric Reutebuch, long-time AWW staffer, will oversee day-to-day operations of the AWW Program as Associate Director of the Program. Dr. Lemme and Dr. Batchelor have agreed to provide temporary financial support for the next three years through Extension and the Alabama Agricultural Experiment Station. So, if you value AWW and what our volunteer monitors have done, and continue to do throughout Alabama, shout out a hearty ‘THANK YOU’ to these men of foresight and vision.
AWW’s new home will also be the new home for the AU Water Resources Center, in the new Center for Advanced Science, Innovation and Commerce, known as the CASIC Building. ‘The CASIC building is being funded by a $14.4 million grant from the U.S. Department of Commerce’s National Institute of Standards and Technology and matching dollars supplied by the state of Alabama along with support from Auburn University and the Alabama Agricultural Experiment Station’ (source: http://wireeagle.auburn.edu/news/3995). The building is located in the Auburn Research Park on the south side of campus on Devall Street (see www.auburnresearchpark.com/CASIC). AWW will be moving in this month!
The bottom line with all of this change – we feel that AWW is stronger than ever! The staff is committed to continue working toward the fulfillment of AWW’s mission ‘to improve both water quality and water policy through citizen monitoring and action’ and the vision of ‘having a citizen water monitor on every stream, river, lake and coast in Alabama.’
Though we are greatly appreciative of how several administrative units at Auburn University have stepped up to stabilize the AWW program, the long-term future of AWW still depends on the support of all Alabamians…through monitoring, joining the AWW Association, donating, and voicing their support of AWW to legislators. If you haven’t already – come join us on our journey! For details on the different ways that you can get involved, visit the AWW website (www.alabamawaterwatch.org).