TWRI grant recipient studies wildlife’s role in bacterial contamination
By Melanie Orth
Israel Parker, a former doctoral student in the Department of Wildlife and Fisheries Sciences at Texas A&M University, worked with his advising professor Dr. Roel R. Lopez to determine the impact of free-ranging wildlife depositing E. coli onto a Texas floodplain.
Parker received a 2009-10 Texas Water Resources Institute (TWRI) research grant. With the $5,000 grant, Parker characterized sources of E. coli in floodplains, focusing on medium- and large-sized mammals. Final results of the study showed that raccoons contributed the most E. coli followed by feral hogs, Virginia opossum and white-tailed deer.
“The information gained from this project is needed to improve watershed-level contamination models and reliability of model results,” he said. “It is incumbent upon us to accurately discern the sources of water pollution to construct more effective mitigation strategies.”
Parker said he learned from his advisors the importance of conducting significant research, which is why he chose to research water quality concerns. The grant also provided Parker with the opportunity to hire additional help, which was critical to the success of his research. “I learned the importance of grant organization as a component of successful research,” he said.
After recently completing his doctorate, Parker said he is now looking to move into a position that will allow him to continue conducting meaningful research.
This project was partially funded by TWRI through the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) as part of the National Institutes for Water Research annual research program and by a Clean Water Act Section 319(h) grant from the Texas State Soil and Water Conservation Board (TSSWCB) and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). TWRI is the designated institute for water resources research in Texas.
Read more information on Parker’s research and his final report.