CSU's Gore Selected For Another Water Quality Study

Columbus, GA - Water quality and the maintenance of aquatic ecosystems are important considerations that must be protected for the survival of future generations. James Gore, Ph.D., professor and chair of Columbus State University's department of environmental and health sciences, recently received a grant of $50,000 from the Southwest Florida Water Management District to develop a protocol that will determine the minimum water flow required to maintain several different river systems. This grant is the latest in a series of water quality research projects for Gore.

Gore also is supervising 11 graduate students on the Georgia Ecoregions Project, designed to develop and evaluate a system for rapid assessment of stream health in all regions of the state of Georgia. Along with CSU Biology Professor Bill Birkhead he has also recently finished a river restoration project on the Oconee River, in Georgia, where he analyzed Georgia Power's contaminated sediment remediation project to return resident biota to a previously contaminated stretch of the river.

In 1976 as a graduate student, Gore and a fellow student developed a computer program that would assist in predicting the required elements needed to maintain the integrity of a river ecosystem. This program is called the Physical Habitat Simulation (PHABSIM), and has been used to regulate water levels and other important elements of river system maintenance throughout the nation. With the assistance of this software, Gore will use his research results to create predictions of what flow conditions are required to sustain the ecological system.

Gore's research will consider many factors that affect the water quality, such as pollution, aquatic life, and measurements of water flow. 'Historically, over the last 50 years humans have decided that they own the rivers and that what they do does not affect the life of the river,' said Gore.

This research will take about five years to complete, and will document the flow conditions and biological data specific to the region. By using PHABSIM to process this information, Gore can predict how the environment will be affected in many different scenarios. This research can be used to evaluate the integrity of the ecological system and determine what is needed to maintain its stability.

In six months Gore also will be issued a $300,000 long-term grant to aid in the initiation of hydrological studies for several other Florida rivers. The predictions that Gore makes will be used in fulfilling a mandate to find and regulate water flow minimums that will be sufficient to maintain the integrity of these river ecosystems.

Gore consistently attracts more research grants to CSU than any other professor, handling about $1.5 million in grants. He is nationally recognized as an expert on water quality. Currently Gore is performing research on the Roanoke River in Virginia and the Myakka, Alafia and the Middle Peace rivers in Florida. He hopes to do research on the Rainbow and Crystal rivers in Florida in the future. PHABSIM has been used throughout the world. The program has been used on the Olifants and Sabie Rivers in South Africa, the Swan River in England, the Dan in Israel and the Fulda in Germany.

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Contact: James Gore, Ph.D. 568-2067; E-mail: gore_james@ColumbusState.edu