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APSU Center of Excellence for Field Biology, biology department and Clarksville Gas and Water announce environmental partnership

APSUs Center of Excellence for Field Biology and biology department are partnering with the City of Clarksvilles Gas and Water Department (CGW) to develop and implement an Environmental Assessment Program.

Research investigators from the Center will conduct a comprehensive background analysis of all tributaries upstream of the current Combined Sewer System Overflow (CSO) areas. The project also will provide environmental education and habitat restoration/demonstration projects.
APSU's Center of Excellence for Field Biology and biology department are partnering with the City of Clarksville's Gas and Water Department (CGW) to develop and implement an Environmental Assessment Program.

Research investigators from the Center will conduct a comprehensive background analysis of all tributaries upstream of the current Combined Sewer System Overflow (CSO) areas. The project also will provide environmental education and habitat restoration/demonstration projects.

“Using the expertise at Austin Peay's Center of Excellence for Field Biology will give us world-class research results in our quest to address our escalating growth,” said Clarksville Mayor Don Trotter. “Years from now, we will measure the impact of this partnership, not in dollars and cents, but in a safe and clean environment for future generations.”

Dr. Gaines Hunt, dean of the APSU College of Science and Mathematics, endorsed the project, adding, “We are pleased that the city recognizes the depth of knowledge housed in the University's Center of Excellence, and we are happy to be asked to participate in this important project.”

The study will gather information about storm water quality runoff in two sub-basins around downtown Clarksville. The project has received the endorsement of the Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation's Division of Water Pollution Control.

Six researchers from APSU and as many as five graduate students will participate. The principal investigators are Dr. Floyd Scott, project manager and herpetologist, Dr. Steve Hamilton, aquatic entomologist, Dr. Willodean Burton, ecologist/toxicologist, Dr. Don Dailey, bacteriologist, Laurina Lyle, environmental educator, and Dr. Andrew Barrass, project administrator and director of the Center for Field Biology. Mike Gray, wastewater collection system analyst at CGW, will assist these researchers, and Alton Hethcoat of H&D Engineers and Planners will oversee the project strategy.

The study area encompasses CSO drainage basins, including the McClure Street Basin (roughly defined by the Cumberland River to the west, the northern limits of the APSU campus and along College Street to the north, the R.J. Corman Railroad system to the east and Madison Street to the south) and the Gallows Hollow Basin (defined by Madison Street to the north, the Cumberland River to the west, an abandoned railroad network to the south and Greenwood Avenue to the east).

The Supplemental Environmental Program will include one year of intensive water quality sampling. In addition, streams, like that in Valleybrook Park, will be monitored for aquatic insects and small amphibians like salamanders, in order to gauge the stream's health. This information will be compared with more rural streams, like Passenger Creek. Data will be accumulated with the intention of establishing a “measuring stick” for CGW's effectiveness at enhancing overall water quality. All of the research will follow sampling protocols established and approved by the Environmental Protection Agency.

The second year, Center researchers will perform follow-up monitoring and develop habitat evaluations. These actions will be followed by community environmental education and restoration/demonstration projects.

The total project cost is $147,050. APSU will provide $51,550, and CGW will
budget $95,500. In addition, CGW plans to assemble community-based “sampling teams,” which will include local citizens and members of the business community. The project is slated to begin Sept. 1, 2004, and run through Dec. 30, 2006.
—Rebecca Mackey