CSU Biologists Establish Water Quality Guidelines for State DNR

Environmental Science Professor James Gore and a graduate-student research team recently established a set of guidelines by which Georgia's rivers and streams will be monitored and protected over the next several years or more.

The CSU team has published a 400-page, region-by region analysis of the ecosystems for approximately 1,000 rivers and streams - the core of a four-year, $1.45 million project, funded by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.

More, specific details will be presented by four members of the CSU team before an international gathering of leading aquatic biologists. Michele Brossett, Duncan Hughes and Jodi and George Williams (wife and husband) have been selected to present their findings individually at the June 6-10 North American Benthological Society annual conference in Vancouver, B.C.

'This selection is prestigious and reflects the project's importance and quality of their work,' said Gore who will present at the conference his own separate research on how natural gas drilling is impacting rivers and streams in Wyoming and Montana.

The new guide will be referenced for water protection measures by both land developers during planning and local and state officials in evaluating subsequent permit applications.

About four years ago, the State Department of Natural Resources acted upon a national Clean Water Act provision that called for a new set of procedures to rapidly evaluate and more effectively monitor all rivers and streams.

An undertaking of such size and scope typically goes to large research institutions. However, the state turned to CSU's Environmental Science program - a graduate study program - to execute the project.

'The students have done the lion's share of the work,' said Gore. 'Over three years, they sampled and profiled about 400 sites throughout the state.'

Among the primary conclusions, said Gore, the study has revealed Georgia terrain as definable by '27 separate ecoregions - each with a unique biological signature for its rivers and streams.'

Upon returning from Vancouver, George and Jodi Williams, Brossett and Hughes will complete their master's degree requirements this summer along with their other colleagues in the project who include Tracy Ferring, Salini Pillai and Uttam Rai. Two other research team members, Amanda Middleton and Ashley Scott, will graduate in 2005.



Contact: James Gore, (706) 568-2067 (until Friday, June 4); E-mail: gore_james@ColumbusState.edu