Auburn University Signs MOU for Watershed Management

Auburn University on Oct. 7 was recognized as a Center of Excellence for Watershed Management in Alabama. This is the fourth Center of Excellence to be designated in the Southeast.

Auburn University signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the Alabama Department of Environmental Management (ADEM) during a ceremony in Samford Hall.

"We are confident that today's agreement will help Auburn University continue and expand its efforts to protect and restore waterways throughout Alabama," said EPA Regional Administrator Jimmy Palmer. "At EPA, we believe watersheds represent the most logical basis for managing resources since all water, both surface and groundwater, within them eventually drains to the same place."

"The Alabama Department of Environmental Management is committed to protecting and preserving our water resources here in Alabama," said ADEM Director Trey Glenn. "The signing of this MOU and the establishment of this partnership will allow each of us to leverage our limited resources and accomplish our goal of ensuring clean waterways for the citizens of Alabama."

To become a recognized Center of Excellence, the institution must demonstrate technical expertise in identifying and addressing watershed needs; involvement of students, staff and faculty in watershed research; capability to involve the full suite of disciplines needed for all aspects of watershed management; financial ability to become self-sustaining; ability to deliver and account for results; willingness to partner with other institutions; and support from the highest levels of the organization.

"We appreciate this opportunity to partner with EPA and ADEM to help manage water resources as prudently as possible, with an eye toward conservation and increased availability," said Auburn University President Jay Gogue. "Auburn has a broad array of expertise to contribute to these efforts."

Some of the benefits of being a recognized Center of Excellence include receipt of EPA technical assistance where needed (instructors, speakers, etc); promotion of the Center of Excellence to stakeholders; EPA letters of support for grant opportunities; and identification of opportunities for Center of Excellence involvement in local and regional watershed issues.

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