Allendale’s GVSU and East Lansing’s MSU Form Partnership to Study Water-related Issues

Leaders from Grand Valley State University's Annis Water Resources Institute (above) and MSU's Institute of Water Research are partnering. // Photograph Courtesy of Grand Valley State University

Allendale-based Grand Valley State University Friday announced it has signed a memorandum of understanding with Michigan State University in East Lansing to collaborate on water-related issues and projects.

Leaders from Grand Valley’s Annis Water Resources Institute and MSU’s Institute of Water Research have been meeting to discuss potential projects. The Annis Water Resources Institute sits on Muskegon Lake in Muskegon County and supports research, education, and outreach aimed at preserving fresh water resources.

Alan Steinman is the Allen and Helen Hunting director of the institute. Its research program explores aquatic ecology, toxicology, ecosystem restoration, and other water-quality projects. The institute’s information services center uses geographic information system data analysis to inform natural resources management decisions.

Scientists and instructors lead education and outreach programs from two research vessels on the lake, teaching K-12 students, college students, policymakers, educators, and community groups.

“The AWRI and MSU have a long-standing relationship that has been based largely on collaborations between individual investigators,” says Steinman. “While these collaborations have generated many positive outcomes, the time is ripe to formalize our partnership through this MOU to facilitate broader, stronger, and forward-thinking relationships to address the water challenges facing Michigan and the Great Lakes region. I am very excited about this partnership with MSU and the synergies it will bring to our respective institutions.”

MSU researchers and outreach specialists in a variety of departments study water, including fisheries and wildlife, biosystems and agriculture engineering, criminal justice, entomology, and geography.

The Water Resources Research Act was signed by former President Lyndon Johnson in 1964 and created 54 water institutes around the country, including MSU’s. Darrell Donahue is director of the Institute of Water Research and the chair of the MSU Department of Biosystems and Agriculture Engineering. He is leading the MSU half of the partnership.

“Working with the AWRI is an honor,” says Donahue. “(Steinman) has done a great job building the program. They have a world-class facility on Muskegon Lake near Lake Michigan and renowned faculty doing amazing work. Combining our resources and expertise, we can tackle a broader range of water issues and seek greater funding opportunities, which benefits both institutions.”