New Institute Enhances Prominence of Water Resources Research at the University of Vermont

By Lake Champlain Sea Grant staff
June 11, 2024

The University of Vermont (UVM) has just established a new campus-wide Water Resources Institute to elevate the university’s water research and education presence. Lake Champlain Sea Grant will collaborate with the new institute to strengthen research, education, and engagement that serves the communities and ecosystems of the Lake Champlain basin.  

The Water Resources Institute builds on the strength of more than 100 UVM faculty working on water-related research, the result of several decades of university and federal support to build capacity in water science, environmental engineering, and socio-ecological systems. The new institute will amplify and stimulate interdisciplinary research and training opportunities for UVM researchers working regionally, nationally, and internationally. The broader scope of the new institute will complement Lake Champlain Sea Grant’s mission to develop and share science-based knowledge to benefit the environment and economies of the Lake Champlain basin.

Lake Champlain Sea Grant Director, Anne Jefferson, will serve as a senior faculty advisor to the new Water Resources Institute. “Research catalyzed by the Water Resources Institute will advance our understanding of critical water issues that affect not only this region, but also other parts of the world,” said Jefferson. “I look forward to working with Institute researchers and leadership to ensure that research needs in the basin are heard and that new science-based knowledge reaches business, state, and local leaders and the communities they serve.”

The Water Resources Institute is directed by Beverley Wemple, professor of Geography and Geosciences. From 2019-2022, Wemple’s research on riverine erosion hazards and flood resilience was supported by Lake Champlain Sea Grant.

“I am excited to build on our track record of high-impact water resources research at UVM, bringing partners together to tackle the next generation of water prediction and management challenges, while supporting training for future water scientists, engineers, managers, and decision makers,” said Wemple. “Our partnerships with Lake Champlain Sea Grant, the Vermont Water Resources and Lake Studies Center, and our NASA EPSCoR program will be critical in this work.”

Initial activities of the new Water Resources Institute include supporting CIROH at UVM, which connects university and federal scientists to improve operational water forecasting and decision support. The institute aims to catalyze additional large, collaborative proposal efforts within its first year. The institute also collaborates with NASA EPSCoR, which supports satellite-based research on weather and water.

The Vermont Water Resources and Lake Studies Center, directed by Jefferson, will also partner with the institute to support science and information transfer relevant to water resources throughout the state of Vermont. Lake Champlain Sea Grant and the Vermont Water Resources and Lake Studies Center will continue to be based within the Rubenstein School of Environment and Natural Resources.