Spring 2014 Director's Corner

WRC Faye

I don’t think I am that unusual in that when I am on vacation, I am especially interested in issues that are part of my day to day work. So when I recently visited historic Jamestown, I spent time exploring the area, contemplating the James River, which appeared to be impacted by sediment, and the land adjacent to the river. Members of the Powhatan tribe had been living in the area prior to 1607 and likely used the river and the land for their livelihood. I wondered if the river looked the same back in 1607 and earlier or was cleaner. When Europeans arrived, the same river was important for both native residents and Europeans for drinking, bathing, crops, cooking, transportation and probably waste disposal. Today, we use water in many of the same ways, but our understanding of the importance of water has increased with new science. We also have learned from our past practices that clean and abundant water resources aren’t a given. The spring issue of the Minnegram highlights a few areas where we continue to search for answers, including research into human waste, runoff, and stormwater management. The Water Resources Center continues to support water research, so that occupants of the land in 400 years can have access to water resources for their sustenance.