At the National Center for Water Quality Research (NCWQR), we use long-term monitoring of streams and rivers to examine the influence of human activities on water quality and help decide actions that lead to healthier ecosystems. To do this, we combine our long-term monitoring program with field and watershed scale modeling as well as short-term research projects. We give back to the community through educational activities, serving on advisory workgroups, presenting and discussing our work to varied audiences, and providing well-testing and contract water-testing services. These actions help us achieve our mission to generate knowledge about the dynamics of water and soil resources in order to improve water quality and availability. Our ultimate vision is a world where scientific research informs the sustainable use of water and soils thereby preserving these resources for future generations.
The NCWQR was originally started as the River Laboratory by Dr. David B. Baker in 1969. We were renamed the Water Quality Laboratory in 1974. Early research projects centered on nutrient and sediment loadings from Ohio rivers flowing into Lake Erie. The lab extended its studies to Lake Erie in 1978 as a participant in the binational Lake Erie Intensive Study, added pesticide analyses to its monitoring programs in 1980, and incorporated three major tributaries of the Ohio River to its loading studies in 1996. Through a resolution of the U.S. House of Representatives introduced by Ohio’s Representative Paul E. Gillmor, the name changed to the National Center for Water Quality Research in 2004. When it became apparent in the late 1990s that Lake Erie was being heavily impacted by changes in agricultural practices accompanied by delivery of increased loads of dissolved phosphorus from its tributaries, the NCWQR staff began to work with agricultural and water agencies on large-scale modeling and management research. Following the 2014 Toledo drinking water crisis, additional monitoring locations were added to our program, including a paired watershed study to assess the effect of conservation practices on reducing dissolved phosphorus loads. Most recently, the NCWQR has started monitoring wetlands constructed throughout the state as part of the H2Ohio program and the LEARN Wetland Monitoring Program Team, which is a unique collaboration among Ohio’s top Universities.
Currently, the NCWQR consists of 10 scientists and technicians assisted by student interns. LINK TO STAFF DIRECTORY
All activities of the NCWQR, other than teaching, have always been supported entirely by extramural funds from federal and state governments, industries, foundations and individuals through research grants, monitoring contracts, analytical services and contributions.