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5/1/15 - MDEQ officials visit Mississippi State, discuss research programs

Mississippi State University project updates and future programs to address environmental issues were the focus of a campus visit by officials from the Mississippi Department of Environmental Quality (MDEQ).

Senior staff members from the MDEQ divisions for pollution control, geology, and land and water resources presented a seminar April 20 and April 21 on their roles and priorities as the agency charged with protecting Mississippi’s air, land and water. MSU faculty members presented updates on programs ranging from the MSU Extension Service to the university’s Gulf Coast Community Design Studio in Biloxi.

Greg Bohach, vice president for the MSU Division of Agriculture, Forestry and Veterinary Medicine, said the two-day event was an opportunity for MDEQ and Mississippi State to provide updates on areas of mutual interest, such as environmental issues and research conducted to address them.

“The university, including our Delta Research and Extension Center, has worked with MDEQ over the years to inform growers about ways to improve irrigation efficiency and water quality while maintaining profitability,” Bohach said. “We also remain in close collaboration with MDEQ through the activities of our Water Resources Research Institute, along with numerous other projects.”

Existing partnerships between MDEQ and MSU include projects with the university’s Bagley College of Engineering, Department of Geosciences, Mississippi Agricultural and Forestry Experiment Station, Forest and Wildlife Research Center, Gulf Coast Community Design Studio, and Research and Education to Advance Conservation and Habitat program.

Kay Whittington, chief of the MDEQ Office of Land and Water Resources, said the visit was a chance for agency officials to speak with MSU researchers and Extension experts about environmental concerns of chief importance to the state.

“I think we’ve been very fortunate to already have a great relationship,” Whittington said. “This has been a wonderful opportunity to hear more in-depth about some of the things we do not have a chance to see outside the realm of people we were already working with. It is important for us to learn about the wide variety of research and activities that can help us address some of our highest priority needs related to research and issues that we face in the environmental arena.”

David Shaw, vice president for research and economic development at MSU, said the partnership between the university and MDEQ includes funded research projects, academic and outreach collaborations, and intern and co-op programs.

“We want to learn about what MDEQ’s pressing needs and priorities are so we can generate new ideas and design research and Extension programs to be able to address those priorities,” Shaw said. “Our faculty are going to jump at that opportunity.”

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Nathan Gregory | MSU Ag Communications

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