Introducing DRA

Collaborative Research for Water Quality

Defiance College, in partnership with the City of Defiance, received $500,000 from the federal Department of Education due to Senator Sherrod Brown’s Congressionally Directed Spending request. These funds, awarded through the Department of Education, will support a collaborative research program focused on water quality issues in Northwest Ohio. The Defiance Research Alliance (DRA) will address systemic problems attributable to the Upper Maumee River Watershed through education, research, and training.

This partnership will focus on achieving the overarching goals of examining excess nutrients in the Upper Maumee Watershed, enhancing education for secondary and college students, and conducting research focused on real-world solutions. This research will occur at Defiance College’s newly-established Maumee River Watershed Research Center. DRA will pursue research and outreach objectives focused on developing solutions to benefit the Defiance County community to reach the common goal to learn more about one of the many natural resources we use everyday: water.

Dr. Sabrina Brown, left, (Defiance College) is the Project Director. She coordinates research efforts at the newly established Maumee River Watershed Data Research Center and manages student opportunities in water quality education.

Katelyn Smith, center, (Defiance College) is the Freshwater Research Technician. She is responsible for developing research protocols and conducting research in the field laboratory.

Jennifer English, right, (City of Defiance) is the Project Coordinator. She is developing the Maumee River Watershed Council, a working group that will communicate project information to the general public.

As a part of the DRA, secondary and college level classes are being offered at Defiance College by Sabrina Brown in the 2023 Spring semester: Inquiry in Science (NSCI 220) and Fundamentals of Water Quality (BIO 495) are open to students in any major and will provide more information on the basics of water quality research. Inquiry in Science will be available to both Defiance College students and high school College Credit Plus (CCP) students. It will focus on how scientific research works by performing hands-on research in the Upper Maumee Watershed. The second class, Fundamentals of Water Quality, is an upper-division science course for Defiance College students and will include hands-on water quality research, as well as opportunities for students to make connections with scientists and professionals.

Early in 2022, the Defiance Water Treatment Plan (WTP) began operating an inline nutrient monitoring system on the Maumee River. This equipment provides staff at the WTP and others (see Smart Watershed Pilot on p.3) real-time water quality data to determine optimal times to pump water to the municipal reservoir and has assisted WTP staff in its operations of filling the reservoir. This new data set is also useful to those working to understand and solve problems related to harmful algal blooms throughout the Great Lakes region.

This innovative new “City-College” partnership will provide ongoing benefits, as the DRA is developing applied research projects in association with this real-time data that is collected locally—while building opportunities for student internships at the high school level, along with research assistants at the college level. There are opportunities for strengthening and building new relationships with the staff throughout the City for career exploration. Currently in development is a field trip for high school science students, not only to learn more about the City’s operations of providing clean drinking water and processing wastewater, but also to explore the newly renovated Science Lab for hands-on and interactive activities at Defiance College.

JANUARY 16, 2023

Informational Webinar

The DRA held a webinar in 2022 to introduce key members of the team, including our Core Working Group and Executive Committee, and most importantly provide information on how to get involved!

View the Defiance Research Alliance Introductory Webinar Here | See this and more on the Land to Lake YouTube Channel

November 30th, 2022

Quarterly Newsletter

< Read the Defiance Research Alliance Introductory Newsletter

Defiance Research Alliance in the News

NOVEMBER 21, 2022 — Defiance College, in partnership with the City of Defiance, received $500,000 from the federal Department of Education due to Senator Sherrod Brown’s Congressionally Directed Spending request. Led by Project Director, Dr. Sabrina Brown (Defiance College) and Project Coordinator, Jennifer English (City of Defiance), a primary goal of the Defiance Research Alliance is to build a research, education, and policy relationship between Defiance College and other watershed stakeholders in the region. The funding will establish a Maumee River Watershed Research Center at Defiance College, giving college and high school students an opportunity to collect, analyze, and interpret water samples using hands-on educational experiences. As part of this initiative, the Defiance Research Alliance will establish the Maumee River Watershed Council to pursue education, research, and development activities in the Upper Maumee River Watershed. The Council will focus on communicating updates to the general public on the work of Defiance Research Alliance.

Learn More: Defiance Research Alliance

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