A research and education network will be created to address critical problems linking watersheds and the ecology of the Lake Erie ecosystem. Problems of interest include loss of fish and wildlife habitat, urban sprawl, and disruption of natural flow regimes of Lake Erie tributaries. The network's goal is to establish a research component for an existing watershed-based service learning initiative focused on linking watershed stewardship activities with undergraduate STEM course work at colleges and universities throughout northeast Ohio. Products will include coordination of education initiatives and creation of a web-based portal to provide educators access to research data. <br/>Core participants are affiliated with an undergraduate, environmental service learning network, CLEAN (Collaborative Learning for Environmental Action Network). Academic institution partners include Case Western Reserve University, Cuyahoga Community College, Baldwin Wallace College, University of Akron, Hiram College, Lake Erie College, Lakeland Community College, Oberlin College, Cleveland State University, and Kent State University. Agency partners to be invited to engage in strategic planning for the network are the Cuyahoga Regional Action Plan, Northeast Ohio Regional Sewer District, Northeast Ohio County Soil and Water Conservation Districts, the Western Reserve Resource and Conservation and Development Council, and community-based watershed stewardship organizations.<br/>Broader impacts of this project will include improved coordination of and access to educational resources, initially to a diverse set of partner colleges and universities, and ultimately to all educational institutions in the Lake Erie watershed. Public outreach and education opportunities will be provided at institutions such as the Great Lakes Science Center, Cleveland Museum of Natural History, and nature centers located in the region's Metroparks. By involving agency partners, the project will add to the science basis of management and policy decisions in watershed management.<br/>This project is supported jointly by the Biological Sciences Directorate and the Division of Undergraduate Education.
RCN-UBE Incubator: Lake Erie Watershed Research and Education Network