Big Three Takeaways: Imagine a Day Without Water

October’s edition of The Current, focused on Imagine a Day Without Water and highlighted three cases – Flint, Michigan, Kewaunee County, Wisconsin and Toledo, Ohio – where communities have dealt with water quality concerns and how Extension professionals, researchers, and public agencies have come together to help respond to the crisis, establish solutions, and prevent future water quality impairments.

Miss the webinar? Watch the full recording on our YouTube channel. Don’t have time to watch the recording? Not a problem – here are three big takeaways:

  1. Darren Bagley, 4-H Youth Development Educator with Michigan State University Extension, overviewed MSU Extension’s response the water crisis in Flint. The Extension team took a cross-program response and consulted with a variety of professionals across disciplines to respond broadly. They placed a renewed focus on nutritional education and adapted their educational program to focus on foods that are particularity good at mitigating the effects of lead such as foods high in iron, calcium, and vitamin C. The team also collaborated to lead safety education workshops, created a lead education website and mobile app, and provided garden starter kits to the community to help improve the access to healthy, nutritious food in the community in efforts to counter the impact of lead.
  2. Kevin Erb, Director of the Conservation Professional Training Program at the University of Wisconsin-Extension, and Russ Rasmussen, NR Manager at the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources, presented on Kewaunee County, Wisconsin’s sensitive geology, and how their shallow soil put them at a higher risk for groundwater contamination. The EPA and WI DNR worked together and based on feedback set up five workgroups to help address groundwater contamination issues. The workgroups took a grassroots effort, and citizen input was actively encouraged to accurately discuss the problem and derive solutions. Once policy, administration, and BMP recommendations were made and put in place, a group was formed to monitor and evaluate process.
  3. Justin Chaffin, Research Coordinator and Senior Researcher at the Stone Laboratory and Ohio Sea Grant, presented on his research developing a Western Lake Erie harmful algal bloom or HAB toxin forecast. Chaffin found that while phosphorus is key in HAB biomass formation, nitrogen is key in HAB toxin formation. Being able to forecast when and where toxins appear will allow for water treatment plants to be on the ready to remove them, and provide safer water to their communities.

You can watch the full webinar recording on the Network’s YouTube Channel. For more information on our speakers and the work presented in this webinar, please contact the presenters:

Darren Bagley: bagleyda@msu.edu
Kevin Erb: kevin.erb@ces.uwex.edu
Russ Rasmussen: russell.rasmussen@wisconsin.gov
Justin Chaffin: chaffin.46@osu.edu

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