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Maintaining and Improving Water Sustainability in Utah

From the Director's Office

As you know, we had a very successful all-hands meeting following our site review by National Science Foundation and our External Assessment Team.That provided us with the final set of decisions required to set our trajectory for the next five years.


We have taken the information we gathered from our various reviews as well as the great input from the Management Team and all of the iUTAH participants and have now completed our iUTAH Strategic Plan.

That document, as well as the State Science & Technology Plan and the Utah EPSCoR Bylaws were submitted to the NSF on Dec. 17, 2012. 

The Strategic Plan can be accessed on the iUTAH website at iutahepscor.org.

 

In addition, we are now advertising for three post-doctoral research positions as well as a social scientist working on water-related issues and a new hydro-informatics engineer. We will keep you posted as these hires are finalized.

 

As always, we received very positive feedback from the NSF as well as our External Advisory and Assessment Teams regarding the broad participation and collegiality of our iUTAH project participants.

 

We cannot begin to thank you all for you willingness to participate in such a friendly and professional manner. We wish you all a great holiday.


Todd Crowl, Rita Teutonico, Karen Wolfe, Laura Vernon and Lauren Petty
 


All-Hands Meeting, Hosted by the Museum of Natural History



iUTAH Participants Meet to Discuss Water Infrastructure

 

On Nov. 16, 2012, the Natural History Museum of Utah hosted an iUTAH All-Hands meeting in Salt Lake City. Researchers, graduate fellows, non-profit representatives, and business members came together to share their expertise and to network on the topic of water infrastructure. Presentations were provided by iUTAH EPSCoR Director Todd Crowl, Co-Director Rita Teutonico, and Ecologist Michelle Baker on current and future water infrastructure systems in Utah. 

 

The discussions also focused on the forthcoming strategic plan and its projected goals for the state. 

 

The advancements in research are designed to have measurable impacts on diversity, education, and outreach opportunities in Utah by connecting with the public, creating jobs,  and strengthening infrastructure. The strategic plan was developed using input from various participants, graduate fellows, and facilitators of higher education during a series of workshops. 

 

A poster session featuring the research of iUTAH graduate fellows was also held, encompassing a wide range of water-related topics such as modeling water-use behavior and water demand, and assessing water quality and water quantity in Utah’s urban and forest areas.



President Stan Albrecht of Utah State University welcomes the National Science Foundation (NSF)




Utah State University President Stan Albrecht hosted the National Science Foundation and the AAA at his home in October, to formally recognize the iUTAH initiative and its reinforcement of advancing research. 



Citizen Science Program Furthers Engagement by Bringing the Public into the Scientific Process.

 

The Utah Division of Water Quality is in charge of monitoring water quality in more than 2,000 lakes and 89,000 miles of streams in Utah. In order to take on such an extensive project, the Division partnered with Utah State University Extension to create a citizen science program that would allow the public to assist in data collection. 

 

The new program, Utah Water Watch, is a water-quality monitoring program tasked with making sure that water quality in Utah meets the state standards — and its managers want the public to be involved. So they formalized a way for the citizens to provide and collect scientific data. 

 

In 2012, more than 70 citizen scientists completed 185 monitoring events, ranging from Bear Lake to the Virgin River. This is just one example of how citizen science projects create valuable connections between the public and professional scientists. Utah Water Watch is creating other projects that would provide credible data for iUTAH researchers. 

 

Utah Water Watch recently submitted a grant request based on green infrastructure that would allow volunteer participants to measure the amount of rainfall and storm water reduction by monitoring rain barrels. 

 

Citizen scientists’ data collection relies upon three specific components: consistency, accuracy, and commitment. Volunteers would be expected to keep a record of precipitation by measuring the amount of runoff collected in their barrels from each storm event. This data would then be shared with researchers to quantify the percentage of runoff reduced.

 

According to Brian Greene, the program coordinator, citizen science projects provide the public with a unique opportunity to become engaged in science with hands-on experience collecting data, learning more about the world around them, and making a difference in scientific research.

 

Notification of the grant will be given on Dec. 20, 2012.


What’s the Drupal Award?

 

The NSF EPSCoR Drupal Content Management System Collaboration Award (DRUPAL) is a supplement to the iUTAH EPSCoR award. It involves five EPSCoR jurisdictions that are currently developing the framework for a web-based data input system that is intended to facilitate NSF reporting outputs.

 

DRUPAL was conceived at a PD/PA/EOD meeting earlier in 2012 during a discussion of the NSF reporting requirements.  During the meeting, EPSCoR Hawaii shared that it had developed a web-based reporting system based on the DRUPAL open-source content management platform.  In a separate effort, EPSCoR New Mexico had been independently developing a system of its own based on the DRUPAL system.  

 

iUtah EPSCoR Program Director Todd Crowl saw an opportunity to align these efforts and recruited five EPSCoR jurisdictions (Alaska, Hawaii, New Hampshire, New Mexico, and Utah) to form a working group to collaboratively develop a common, web-based platform that could be suitable across EPSCoR jurisdictions for reporting requirements. Utah’s programming efforts are being led by iUTAH partner the Utah Education Network, or UEN.  

 

On Nov. 14 - 15, developers and program administrators met at the University of New Hampshire in Durham to continue their DRUPAL development efforts.  Representatives from all five jurisdictions joined with Rusty Keele from UEN and Karen Wolfe and Todd Crowl from iUTAH EPSCoR representing Utah. These developers worked collaboratively on the back end, while project administrators continued to evaluate reporting requirements.  

 

Utah’s DRUPAL system is expected to be in beta testing by early January.  Workshops at USU, UU, BYU, and SUU are anticipated in February to help iUTAH participants familiarize themselves with NSF EPSCoR reporting requirements and the new DRUPAL reporting platform.



Don't forget to follow us on Facebook and Twitter, for upcoming events and opportunities to get involved!

Upcoming Events

Jan. 9, 2012 
Water Resource Managers meeting
Museum of Natural History 
9:00 a.m. to 3:30 p.m.

Jan. 23, 2012
Program Director/Project Administrator meeting

Mar. 1-3, 2013
Save the Date!
iUTAH has a goal to increase the institutional, individual, disciplinary, and geographic diversity of the STEM enterprise in Utah in order to address the water sustainability issues facing Utah and the Mountain West, and this conference is a first step in that process. 
Utah State University Eastern, Blanding campus. Click here for additional information. 

Opportunities

 


Post-doctoral fellowship in coupled human-natural water systems in Utah’s Wasatch Front

The University of Utah and Utah State University seek a post-doctoral fellow to participate in a new NSF EPSCoR funded project on water sustainability in the Wasatch Front of northern Utah. Click here for more information. 

 

 

iUTAH Research Technician Positions

iUTAH is seeking three technicians to take responsibilities for the operations of climatic and hydrologic monitoring systems in northern Utah. These technicians will have daily responsibility for all aspects of hydrological instrumentation network design, operation/maintenance, data quality assurance/control, and training. Click here for more information.

 

NCIIA E-Team Program

Winter Deadline: February 1, 2013
Spring Deadline: May 10, 2013

NCIIA is excited to announce its new E-Team Program, providing early-stage support and funding of up to $75,000 for student and faculty innovators and entrepreneurs working on market-based technology inventions. The three-stage program expands on NCIIA's E-Team grants to include entrepreneurial and venture coaching, workshops and a potential networking and investment opportunity to better prepare your technology-innovation for market. Click here for more information.