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Clemson University Recognized for Success, Renewal of its Center of Excellence for Watershed Management

Release Date: 07/23/2013
Contact Information: Davina Marraccini, 404-562-8293 (direct), 404-562-8400 (main), marraccini.davina@epa.gov

ATLANTA – During a ceremony today in Atlanta, EPA Region 4 and the South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control (DHEC) marked the renewal of Clemson University’s Center of Excellence for Watershed Management (Center). Representatives from EPA, DHEC and Clemson University signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) renewing the Center for another 5 years. There are 10 centers across the Southeast, with the Clemson MOU first to be renewed.

“Clemson’s Center has established itself as a leader in water resources management in South Carolina and across the Southeast—leveraging millions in funding to support priority projects,” said EPA Acting Regional Administrator Stan Meiburg. “The Center is unique in that it focuses on using remotely sensed monitoring data, providing watershed information that can be used in real time to better protect local communities and improve water quality across the state.”

"DHEC is pleased to have a part in renewing Clemson's Center," said Elizabeth Dieck, director of DHEC's Environmental Affairs. "We believe that our continued partnership will increase awareness and facilitate improvements in water quality across the state.”

To become a recognized Center of Excellence, the institution must demonstrate technical expertise in identifying and addressing watershed needs; involvement of students, staff and faculty in watershed planning, protection, and restoration; capability to involve the full suite of disciplines needed for all aspects of watershed management; financial ability to become self-sustaining; ability to deliver and account for results; willingness to partner with other institutions; and support from the highest levels of the organization.

“Being named a Center of Excellence is a distinction and responsibility,” said John Kelly, Clemson University’s Vice President of Economic Development. “Ensuring clean water for our state's communities and businesses is a vital part of Clemson University's mission.”

The Center has been instrumental in developing the statewide South Carolina Water Resources Conference, fostering regional stormwater consortiums through its Carolina Clear™ program, demonstrating the utility of green infrastructure practices, and promoting the use of innovative technologies to provide real-time remote data acquisition at the river-basin scale.

“We are excited to renew our MOU with EPA and DHEC and look forward to continuing our working partnerships with agencies and stakeholders,” added Center Director Gene Eidson. “Making decisions about water use and quality involves communication and confidence among public and private sector participants in policy making and operations. The people at the state, county and city levels who work with our Center help us make our watershed programs relevant and robust.”

Some of the benefits of being a recognized Center of Excellence include receipt of EPA technical assistance where needed (instructors, speakers, etc); promotion of the Center of Excellence to stakeholders; EPA letters of support for grant opportunities; and identification of opportunities for Center of Excellence involvement in local and regional watershed issues.

Started in 2007, the EPA Region 4 Centers of Excellence for Watershed Management Program works with colleges and universities from across the Southeast to provide hands-on, practical products and services for communities to identify watershed problems and solve them. Each EPA designated Center actively seeks out watershed-based stakeholder groups and local governments that need cost effective tools for watershed scientific studies, engineering designs and computer mapping, as well as assistance with legal issues, project management, public education and planning.

More information about EPA Region 4’s other Centers of Excellence for Watershed Management in the Southeast is available at:
http://epa.gov/region4/water/watersheds/index.html

More information about priority watersheds in the Southeast is available online at: http://www.epa.gov/region4/water/watersheds/index.html

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And on Twitter: @USEPASoutheast