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TMU Biology Field Station receives Duke Energy 2023 Climate Resiliency grant for water quality research

A focus on sustainability and the recent regional water quality issues and toxic chemical concerns have served to shine a spotlight on the crucial work carried out at the Thomas More University Biology Field Station.

Faculty and students at the Field Station perform ongoing monitoring and research of the Ohio River and its tributaries, which helps to protect the ecosystem and ensure the safety of those using the river’s resources. This work not only advances scientific knowledge but also helps to improve the quality of life in the region.

The Field Station was recently recognized for its work through Duke Energy’s 2023 Climate Resiliency grant program, which funds scientific research in the area of climate change. The Field Station’s grant project focuses on the assessment and monitoring of water quality in the Ohio River and on the conservation of threatened and endangered aquatic species that have been and will continue to be impacted by climate change.

Thomas More University representatives accept the Duke Energy 2023 Climate Resiliency grant (Photo from TMU)

“The project will also support workforce development as my research assistants are the undergraduate interns living at the Station throughout the summer,” said Christopher Lorentz, Ph.D., director of the Biology Field Station.

The 2023 intern cohort includes four students from Thomas More and seven from other universities, including four from Universidad del Sagrado Corazón, Thomas More’s sister school in Puerto Rico.

Lorentz recently shared some of the research regarding the water quality of the Ohio River at Shawnee State University. The Jane M.G. Foster Distinguished Lecture Series hosted by Shawnee State brings world-renowned authors, leaders, and experts in a variety of academic fields to their Portsmouth, Ohio campus each year. Lorentz’s lecture came on the heels of the East Palestine train derailment, which caused concern about drinking water quality and public health for many residents along the Ohio River.

On April 18, the American Rivers 2023 Endangered Rivers Report named the Ohio River as the second most endangered river in the United States.

“The Ohio River unifies 30 million people across 15 states, from New York to Mississippi,” said the report. “The upper river is threatened by industrialization and pollution, recently exemplified by the East Palestine train derailment. This ongoing chemical disaster underscores the vulnerability of the Ohio River and the need for increased safeguards and durable funding for additional and continuous monitoring.”

Utilizing his research on the Ohio River, Lorentz serves as Vice Chair of the Ohio River Basin Alliance, a non-profit organization working to create an ecosystem restoration for the Basin. The Alliance, on the heels of the American Rivers endangered river designation, is urging Congress to designate the river as a federally protected water system and commit to funding both the Ohio River Restoration Plan and Ohio River Valley Water Sanitation Commission’s technical upgrades.

For more information about America’s Most Endangered Rivers, visit mostendangeredrivers.org.

For more information about Thomas More University, visit www.thomasmore.edu.

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