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Mission

Natural ecosystems purify water and air, modify climate, reduce flooding, and provide natural products that are crucial to human existence, but few systems have been managed to sustain these benefits. Watersheds are functional units by which our interactions with the environment can be assessed, because the water that flows from a watershed is a measure of the health of that area. Understanding and managing smaller watershed units, such as streams, is a necessary precursor to managing larger units, such as the river basins that shape the health and economies of their associated bays, deltas and coastal environments.

The mission of the Center for Integrated Watershed Studies (CIWS) is to serve as a source of expertise on natural features of watersheds and human effects on watersheds. We endeavor to address the biological, geological, geographic, economic and societal components of watersheds, at all scales of integration - local, regional, and international, and our activities range from field data collection for scholarly research to policy analysis and education.


Susquehanna River at Binghamton, NY
Washington Street Walking Bridge


Camp Badger Reservoir, Spencer, NY

Organization

The nature of watershed study is highly interdisciplinary, and one of the main functions of the Center is to draw together investigators with diverse expertise and interests in watershed studies in the hopes of integrating the latest knowledge across all disciplines pertaining to watershed management. In June 2003, the Office of Research and Sponsored Funds at Binghamton University formally recognized the Center for Integrated Watershed Studies as a Research Center. The Center has nine core faculty members, including the director, Dr. John Titus, and Associate Directors, Drs. Joseph Graney and Burrell Montz, drawn from the departments of Biological Sciences, Geology and Environmental Studies, and Geography. The synergism created by the shared interests of these individuals has contributed to the submission of grant proposals to NSF, EPA, USGS, and USDA. The Center has established important off-campus relationships, including a partnership with the Upper Susquehanna Coalition, which is a federally supported multi-county network of natural resource professionals who develop strategies, partnerships, programs and projects to protect and manage the headwaters of the Susquehanna River and Chesapeake Bay watersheds. The Center’s educational efforts include plans to create certificate programs in watershed studies, and to be a major participant in the establishment of a large Life Sciences Learning Center for all levels of educational involvement and public outreach. Resident and visiting watershed/ecosystem experts also contribute to the educational aspects of CIWS and enhance the outreach program.

Future Vision

It is the vision of CIWS to expand under a larger umbrella into an Institute for Environmental Systems Research at Binghamton University, with additional Centers in such areas as Environmental Policy, Environmental & Public Health, Global & Environmental Change, and Environmental Impact Assessment, and to span many more departments and some of the professional schools. CIWS is rapidly expanding its research activities and its educational and training mission. We are developing a Graduate Certificate in Watershed Studies, and offer undergraduate internships in area projects. We also expect to expand our consulting activities, become more involved in downstream impacts on the Chesapeake Bay, and apply what we learn from our local and regional studies to solving problems both here and abroad.


Taroko Gorge, Taiwan - Terraces of 120 meters of river incision
in about 2000 years

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