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WIU, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Sign Environmental Understanding

December 10, 2007

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MACOMB/MOLINE, IL - - Western Illinois University and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers' Rock Island District signed a Memorandum of Understanding today (Dec. 10) to support the shared goals of protecting natural resources and enhancing environmental sustainability in the region.

The ceremony, held at the WIU-Quad Cities campus on John Deere Road, included a welcome and explanation of the Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) by Roger Viadero, director of Western's Institute for Environmental Studies, and remarks from Western Illinois' President Al Goldfarb and the Corps' Rock Island District Commanding Officer Col. Robert Sinkler. Goldfarb and Sinkler then signed the MOU.

"The Memorandum of Understanding between Western Illinois and the Corps is a significant step for our University's presence and commitment in the Quad Cities," said WIU President Al Goldfarb. "This partnership enhances our strategic plan's value of social responsibility and our environmental planning and sustainability efforts, which are key features of the Quad Cities and Macomb campus master plans."

"The MOU builds on significant prior work between Western and the Corps and seals the longterm commitment of both organizations to support regional missions of mutual interest," said Viadero. "Work conducted under this MOU will build on joint needs, capabilities, responsibilities and interests of both parties with the goals of understanding and protecting natural resources in support of environmental sustainability.

"The main objectives of the partnership are to promote environmental and socio-economic research, to increase knowledge related to the sustainable use and management of environmental resources and to promote the application of Geographic Information Systems (GIS) for sustainable resource management," he added.

"Through this memorandum, the Corps hopes to cultivate opportunities for partnerships that improve the quality of life in the region, while supporting environmental sustainability and community and economic development," said Col. Sinkler. "We also hope to receive assistance with providing information to regional stakeholders about the important work being done to enhance the ecosystem."

One of the missions of Western Illinois' Institute for Environmental Studies (, which was organized in August 2005 as an interdisciplinary unit within Western's College of Arts and Sciences (CAS), is to conduct applied research and to provide community service and outreach to address environmental sustainability locally and regionally, according to Inessa Levi, CAS dean.

"The College of Arts and Sciences is delighted to have our interdisciplinary Institute for Environmental Studies, in cooperation with WIU's GIS Center, take on such an important partnership with the Corps that includes environmental and socio-economic research as well as planning for the sustainable management of environmental resources," she added. "This is exactly why the Institute for Environmental Studies is essential in helping carry out the University's core values."

For more information about the Memorandum of Understanding or planned projects, contact Viadero at WIU, 309/298-1632, e-mail, or Justine Barati at the Corps, 309/794-5204, e-mail

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