Water quantity and quality are interlinked with global biohealth, servicing a sustainable plant, animal and human network. Understanding water quality at a larger scale is essential to our future investments for protection and restoration. Despite our investment in infrastructure and better environmental protection policies, water pollution shows a continual and dramatic impact on health. To address remediation efforts, fecal pollution sources at the watershed scale and water quality across the entire lower peninsula of Michigan were investigated. New technology that allows greater precision, droplet digital PCR (ddPCR), was used for microbial source tracking for bovine and human markers along with data on E. coli. Results identified nonpoint sources including septic tanks and animal manure and showed a relatively high number of sites contaminated with human and bovine markers during different flow regimes (45 – 75% of samples). The animal and human contamination were not correlated with E. coli. Different mechanisms were shown to be associated with the various fecal pollution sources including ground water and overland runoff impacts on surface waters, and key watersheds were identified for further assessment and restoration.
Joan B. Rose (NAE member) holds the Homer Nowlin Chair in Water Research at Michigan State University in the Depts. of Fisheries & Wildlife and Plant, Soil and Microbiological Science. She is an international expert in water microbiology, water quality and public health safety and currently leads the Global Water Pathogens Project in partnership with UNESCO. She has published more than 300 manuscripts. Her work addresses the study of viruses, source tracking markers and protozoa in the water environment; use of new molecular tools for surveying and mapping water pollution for recreational and drinking water, irrigation water, coastal and ballast waters; assessment of innovative water treatment technology for the developed and developing world; and use of quantitative microbial risk assessment. She is the winner of the 2016 Stockholm Water Prize. She is a Fellow of the American Academy of Microbiology. She is the 2001 recipient of the Clarke Water Prize and was awarded Honorary Citizenship in Singapore for her contributions to water quality, water education and Singapore’s water security 4-taps program. Dr. Rose earned her B.Sc. (Univ. of Arizona) M.S. (from University of Wyoming) and Ph.D. (1985) in microbiology from the University of Arizona, Tucson.
The event is sponsored by the Water Management and Hydrological Science program, the Texas Water Resources Institute, the Texas A&M University School of Law, and the Bush School of Government and Public Service.