University News

WIU-FWS Agreement

July 1, 2009

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MACOMB/MOLINE, IL -- Western Illinois University and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) signed a Memorandum of Understanding today (July 1) 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 an overview 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 Lynn Lewis, assistant regional director of ecological services for the Fish and Wildlife Service. Goldfarb and Lewis then signed the MOU.

"The Memorandum of Understanding between Western Illinois and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service provides outstanding research and educational opportunities for staff, students and members of the general public," said 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 U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service will work closely with Western's Institute for Environmental Studies to conduct environmental research and data gathering and to provide environmental education opportunities surrounding large river (e.g. Mississippi River) natural resources.

"The MOU builds on significant prior work between Western and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service by increasing our knowledge of environmental and ecological processes in large river systems, especially with regard to wetlands, forests, migratory birds, fish, water quality, endangered species, reptiles and amphibians and other river biota," Viadero explained. "This partnership will also allow both organizations to use Geographic Information Systems (GIS) to enhance planning for sustainable use and adaptive management of river resources and to provide learning opportunities for service personnel, WIU students and the public."

According to Lewis, the organization's service biologists will work as mentors to students conducting research projects, as well as work with WIU students, faculty and staff conducting river research.

"We see this partnership as an outstanding way to support the future sustainability of natural resources in the Upper Mississippi River by making the best uses of our collective abilities," Lewis added.

In December 2007, WIU entered into a similar agreement with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers' Rock Island District to support regional environmental sustainability by enhancing the understanding of the unique natural resources of the Upper Mississippi River basin.

"Former College of Arts and Sciences Dean Inessa Levi worked with Dr. Viadero and WIU Trustee Bill Griffin to enable us to enter into this agreement with the FWS, and I greatly appreciate the efforts they put forth on this project," said College of Arts and Sciences Interim Dean Susan Martinelli-Fernandez. "I would also like to thank Rick Nelson, Jon Duyvejonck, Jodi Milar and Bob Clevenstein at the FWS for their work and support on this project. We look forward to a long working relationship that will benefit the WIU service region."

For more information about the Memorandum of Understandings with the FWS and the Corps or related projects, contact Viadero at WIU, 309/298-1632, e-mail or

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Office of University Communications & Marketing