The Great Lakes Regional Water Program addresses water quality research, education, and outreach/extension efforts common to the six states in USEPA Region 5: Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, Minnesota, Ohio, and Wisconsin. Cooperative Extension State Water Quality Coordinators from each state, along with associated University research professionals, have developed an approach that will help the region efficiently respond to agriculture-related watershed concerns.
The goal of this effort is to provide regional coordination of research, education, and extension efforts related to the eight USDA CSREES strategic goals. Specifically, we develop and maintain regional, multi-stakeholder partnerships; promote regional coordination of water quality programming; facilitate sharing of new ideas, regional expertise, and resources; use success stories to improve the visibility of CSREES; and evaluate existing partnerships, projects, and communication strategies.
A Regional Water Leadership Team guides the regional project and coordinates multi-state programming decisions; Theme Teams provide expertise in research, extension, and education around six of the eight national water quality themes and serve as resources for regional programming decisions; project advisory teams guide regional flagship projects; state advisory committees serve as a forum for discussing state and regional issues and priorities at the state level; and a Regional Liaison coordinates Regional Team activities and strengthens partnerships with other educational institutions, federal and state agencies, and producer and non-profit groups.
Regional Water Theme Teams
Theme Teams serve as issue advisory groups for the Regional Water Leadership Team. Specifically, Theme Teams recommend program and project priorities for a theme, and help guide distribution of Extension resources related to water quality programming. The Theme Teams allow the RWQLT to implement multi-partner actions that minimize duplication and are a mechanism to bring non-CSREES funding into collaborative water quality improvement efforts. The Theme Teams comprise professionals with research, education, and extension experience in a given theme that are able to provide a regional perspective on that theme. Theme Teams represent Land and Sea Grant and Extension faculty, and multiple stakeholder groups. Theme Teams are coordinated by an Extension State Water Quality Coordinator (SWQC), or an Extension faculty or staff person chosen by the SWQC, and a non-Extension co-chair.