Carver Trust Grant to Help UI Create High-tech River Observatory

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

University of Iowa Foundation Release

PHOTO: A $900,000 grant from the Roy J. Carver Charitable Trust will expand the capacity of the Lucille A. Carver Mississippi Riverside Environmental Research Station near Muscatine to create a high-tech environmental observatory.

A $900,000 grant from the Roy J. Carver Charitable Trust of Muscatine, Iowa, will enable the University of Iowa College of Engineering to create an environmental and hydrologic observatory on the Mississippi River using state-of-the-art sensors and communications technology.

The new $1.15 million observatory will expand the capacity of the existing Lucille A. Carver Mississippi Riverside Environmental Research Station (LACMRERS), a unit of IIHR-Hydroscience & Engineering in the UI College of Engineering. LACMRERS is located on the Mississippi near Muscatine.

The observatory funded by the Carver Trust grant, which was made through the UI Foundation, will be administered by two UI professors of civil and environmental engineering: IIHR director Larry J. Weber; and Jerald L. Schnoor, co-director of the UI Center for Global and Regional Environmental Research, who holds the Allen S. Henry Chair in Engineering.

"This initiative represents an unprecedented effort to monitor, in real time and over a significant geographic area, changes in a large river in response to climatic events, agricultural trends and other human activities," Weber said. "The new observatory also will raise the bar of river science and watershed education as students play a key role in its design and implementation."

The high-tech sensors and latest communications technologies that are part of the new environmental-hydrologic observatory will monitor and transmit data reflecting a variety of water-quality parameters to researchers at IIHR and LACMRERS, Weber said. The sensors will be located throughout Navigation Pool 16 of the Upper Mississippi River Basin, on the 41 kilometers of the river between lock and dam 15 at Davenport and lock and dam 16 at Muscatine.

"Results from this project and future studies will significantly expand scientific understanding of large river ecological sustainability, and will directly impact the work of the many federal and other agencies that are working to improve policies affecting water resources and river management," Schnoor said. "This new observatory also will further elevate the Lucille A. Carver Mississippi Riverside Environmental Research Station's role as a leading national and international center for Mississippi and large river education and research."

IIHR-Hydroscience & Engineering is one of the nation's leading and oldest fluids research and teaching laboratories. IIHR faculty, research engineers and students conduct research in the broad fields of fluid mechanics, air and water resources and environmental hydraulics. IIHR is unique among hydraulic research laboratories for its in-house capabilities in computational simulations and laboratory modeling and for field observational research.

LACMRERS is this nation's only university-owned research station on the Mississippi River. The 7,500-square-foot facility, originally funded primarily by the Roy J. Carver Charitable Trust, brings together hydraulic engineers, biologists, geologists, environmental engineers and representatives of other relevant disciplines to conduct research on the United States' largest river.

The UI acknowledges the UI Foundation as the preferred channel for private contributions that benefit all areas of the university. For more information about the UI Foundation, visit its web site at www.uiowafoundation.org.

STORY SOURCE: University of Iowa Foundation, P.O. Box 4550, Iowa City, Iowa 52244-4550

MEDIA CONTACT: Matt Henderson, executive director of development for the UI College of Engineering, the UI Foundation, 319-335-3305 or (800) 648-6973, matt-henderson@uiowa.edu. Writer: Forrest Meyer.

PHOTO LINKS:
A high-resolution photo of the UI's Lucille A. Carver Mississippi Riverside Environmental Research Station is available at: http://www.uifoundation.org/news/2008/images/may-carver-highrez.jpg

A web version of a photo of the UI's Lucille A. Carver Mississippi Riverside Environmental Research Station is available at:
http://www.uifoundation.org/news/2008/images/may-carver.jpg