Watershed Academics To Enhance Regional Sustainability (WATERS) is a collaborative endeavor between Sonoma State University and Sonoma County Water Agency (SCWA) to undertake projects that enhance watershed management and academic training of students (see Purpose for additional details). The Collaborative was established in August 2012 and is a contributor to the CSU Water Resources and Policy Initiatives.
How Does It Work?
- The Sonoma County Water Agency identifies local watershed management issues and provides funding for course supplies and administration. SCWA encourages participation by other local organizations to address watershed management issues in the region.
- Interested SSU Faculty explore how to incorporate Water Agency questions into their course curricula and student research projects. Many faculty across campus independently offer classes and conduct research on technology, restoration, ecology, hydrology, and policy of this important resource.
- The Center for Environmental Inquiry assists in academic-management communication, supports faculty and student projects, and distributes information about the projects and the WATERS Collaborative.
Funding for the WATERS Collaborative is provided by the Sonoma County Water Agency through a contract with Sonoma State University. The most recent contract (SCWA Agenda Item Summary Report), approved December 10, 2013 by the SCWA Board of Supervisors, provides 3 years of funding. WATERS partners with other organizations to develop grants and programs that support watershed research and education.
Additional funding and in-kind support are provided by community partners and funders supporting individual projects:
- Funding: Daphne Smith, Steve Norwick Memorial Fund, School of Science & Technology, NSF Grant "Stepping Up Stem“ (PI: Lynn Stauffer), SSU Instructionally Related Activities (PI: Farid Farahmand), Sonoma County Youth Ecology Corps, CSU Campus as a Living Lab (PI: Farid Farahmand), GMC Academic Integration Grant (PI: Paul Draper), Center for Environmental Inquiry
- In-Kind Support: City of Santa Rosa, City of Rohnert Park, Sonoma County Youth Ecology Corps, Occidental Arts and Ecology Center, Goldridge Resource Conservation District, Center for Environmental Inquiry, SSU Garden Classroom, SSU Facilities, SSU Sustainability Executive Committee, Pepperwood Preserve, Marin Carbon Project
Integration with Sustainable SSU Activities
WATERS recognizes Sustainable SSU as a key partner in promoting watershed related academic initiatives on campus. The WATERS Coordinator is a standing a member of the Sustainability Executive Committee (SEC) which is responsible for coordinating and supporting sustainability activities at SSU. The Coordinator works with the SSU Director of Sustainability to pursue mutually beneficial collaborations surrounding sustainability and water-related issues. Current collaborative activities include:
- Academics - Initiated in 2013, the "Sustainability in the Classroom" program provided funds, 50% from the SEC and 50% from WATERS, to support faculty interested in incorporating sustainability projects into course curricula.
- Promotion and Branding - The "Sustainbable SSU / Do One Thing Today" (DOTT) campaign developed by the SEC includes a strong water theme compatible with WATERS initiatives and activities. Where appropriate, WATERS includes the DOTT poster and logo to indicate that WATERS activities are aligned and in partnership with sustainability initiatives on campus.
Dr. Claudia Luke
WATERS Coordinator / Center for Environmental Inquiry Director
Sonoma County Water Agency, Principal Environmental Specialist