The Tennessee Water Resources Research Center (TWRRC), housed within the Institute for a Secure and Sustainable Environment (ISSE), seeks to improve regional water quality through community-based projects, outreach, education, training, and community empowerment activities. TWRRC initiatives have included: a half a million dollar watershed improvement plan in Beaver Creek watershed, a Knox County Adopt-A-Watershed, which has engaged thousands of K-12 students in service learning for water quality improvement, a state-wide professional development training for water quality protection involving several hundred professionals per year, and the Tennessee Smart Yards Program that educates homeowners about water-quality-enhancing landscaping practices.
Community partners include The Nature Conservatory, Knox County Schools, 15 local watershed organizations, 21 local government organizations, The Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency-Region 4, U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Natural Resources Conservation Service, several county soil conservation districts, Tennessee Valley Authority, The Water Quality Forum, AmeriCorps, homeowners and farmers, professionals in the storm water and construction fields. University of Tennessee, Knoxville partners include the Institute for Agriculture, College of Engineering, and the College of Arts and Sciences.
The community receives immediate benefits to water quality in local watersheds through implementation of watershed improvement projects. The TWRRC provides education and engagement with K-12 students, homeowners, farmers, and communities in water quality protection. The initiative provides training for professionals in water quality protection and empowers local communities to become key stakeholders in the partnership.
Impact on UT
This center provides professional networking opportunities for faculty members and students. It gives access to field research sites for faculty and students and allows for the development of contracts to support ISSE staff, faculty, and students. Many student theses and dissertations are written on watershed improvement projects implemented through the TWRRC and its partnering organizations. Outreach activities provide rich opportunities for broader impacts in National Science Foundation proposals. ISSE and the TN WRRC also facilitate better public support for UT.
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