Defiance College Partnership Receives Funding for Water Quality Research

November 4, 2022

DEFIANCE, Ohio - Defiance College, in partnership with the City of Defiance, received $500,000 from the federal Department of Education due to Senator Sherrod Brown’s Congressionally Directed Spending request. These funds, awarded through the Department of Education, will support a collaborative research program focused on water quality issues in Northwest Ohio. The Defiance Research Alliance, comprised of members from Defiance College and the City of Defiance, will partner to address systematic problems attributable to the Upper Maumee River Watershed through education, research, and training. Led by Project Director, Dr. Sabrina Brown (Defiance College) and Project Coordinator, Jennifer English (City of Defiance), students from Defiance County public schools and Defiance College will engage in community-based research to tackle issues directly related to the Upper Maumee River Watershed.

A primary goal of the Defiance Research Alliance is to build a research, education, and policy relationship between Defiance College and other watershed stakeholders in the region. Research performed will address the challenges facing Lake Erie and the Great Lakes region as a whole, and will establish a Maumee River Watershed Research Center at Defiance College, giving college and high school students an opportunity to collect, analyze, and interpret water samples using hands-on educational experiences. This research will be used to inform management decisions at the City and as a baseline for additional water quality research in the Upper Maumee River Watershed and beyond.

“Lake Erie is one of the state’s most important resources. It’s part of who we are. This funding will help establish a new Maumee River Watershed Research Center in Defiance to support important research that will help protect the lake, rivers and streams that provide drinking water to millions of Ohioans,” says Senator Brown. “The Alliance is doing important work to educate young people on the importance of improving water quality in the Maumee River basin and ultimately Lake Erie. These are some of our state’s most vital resources, and that’s why we worked together to support these efforts.”

Students who participate in this program will be able to get involved through research assistantships and courses focused on the fundamentals of water quality. Stipends are available to help fund internship and research opportunities for both high school and college students. Laboratory space at Defiance College will be renovated to house the Maumee River Watershed Research Center. Additionally, funds will support field and laboratory equipment upgrades.

As part of this initiative, the Defiance Research Alliance will establish the Maumee River Watershed Council as a permanent, sustainable agriculture-academic-conservation focused working group to pursue education, research, and development activities in the Upper Maumee River Watershed. The Council will focus on communicating updates to the general public on the work of Defiance Research Alliance as a whole.

“Our goal is to work in direct partnership with the City’s watershed management - especially in the agricultural sector. It is critically important for the College, City, and County to improve our local watershed data collection,” states Dr. Richanne C. Mankey, President of Defiance College. “The data is equally important to farmers and agribusiness in our region to ensure best practices are incorporated.  Students at the college and high school level also will benefit from learning about science in the field and how that translates to data analysis and solutions.”

Chartered in 1850, Defiance College is an independent, liberal arts-based institution in Northwest Ohio, offering more than 40 undergraduate programs of study as well as graduate programs in education and business. Defiance College has received national recognition for its educational experience of service and engagement. DC has created a unique career readiness program called Jacket Journey to help students learn career skills in and out of the classroom. The four pillars of its mission guide the College: To Know, To Understand, To Lead, and To Serve.