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Release: May 1, 2002

(NOTE TO EDITORS AND PHOTOGRAPHERS: UI President Mary Sue Coleman, Tatsuaki Nakato, research engineer and IIHR associate director for MRERS, and others are scheduled to speak at the 1:30 p.m. Friday, May 3 dedication of the Lucille A. Carver River Research and Education Facility (LACRREF). LACRREF is located on Highway 22, about seven miles east of Muscatine in Fairport. IDOT highway signs will direct you to the site, which is adjacent to the DNR Fish Hatchery.

UI to dedicate Carver Research Facility May 3

University of Iowa President Mary Sue Coleman will help dedicate the Lucille A. Carver River Research and Education Facility -- the home of the world-class Mississippi Riverside Environmental Research Station (MRERS) -- at 1:30 p.m. Friday, May 3 near Muscatine, Iowa.

The building is made possible in large part by a $1.2 million gift to the University of Iowa Foundation from the Roy J. Carver Charitable Trust of Muscatine. Lucille Carver is a member of the Carver Trust Board of Trustees and the widow of the late Roy J. Carver Sr., the trust's founder.

Located on the banks of the Mississippi River, about seven miles east of Muscatine near the community of Fairport, the 7,000-square-foot facility houses offices, a classroom, and laboratory and display space. The station is operated by the UI College of Engineering's world-renowned IIHR-Hydroscience and Engineering (formerly Iowa Institute of Hydraulic Research), an organization that has conducted studies on the Mississippi since the 1920s. Other river stations may monitor a few variables such as flood levels, sedimentation, fish populations, aquatic plants, water quality, flood effects, and the impact of industrialization, but MRERS is the only one that will study virtually all aspects of the river, says V.C. Patel, IIHR director. "MRERS will bring together researchers and educators from many disciplines to ensure the health and future of the nation’s greatest waterway — the Mississippi River," he says. UI students are scheduled to begin holding classes in the Carver facility in late May.

In addition to Coleman, scheduled dedication speakers are: Gregs Thomopulos, president and CEO, The Stanley Group, and chair of the IIHR Advisory Board; John Nestler, research ecologist, U.S. Army Engineer Research and Development Center, and chair, MRERS Scientific Advisory Council; and Tatsuaki Nakato, UI research engineer and IIHR Associate Director for MRERS.

Nakato says the station's creation was inspired by a 1995 boat trip to study riverbank erosion on the Mississippi between St. Paul, Minn. and Cairo, Ill. Nakato recalls that he was "overwhelmed" by the five-week journey which taught him the need for a good field observation site. "This is a facility where scientists from different fields can be in the same boat and the same building and can teach each other," he says.

Patel and Nakato note that MRERS is modeled after two renowned organizations that take a holistic approach toward ocean research -- Scripps Institution of Oceanography, affiliated with the University of California, San Diego, and Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution, affiliated with MIT. Similarly, it is envisioned that the University of Iowa's MRERS will become the premier university-based riverside field research station to study the long-term impact of natural events and human activities on the river ecosystem and evaluate protective strategies.

Lucille Carver attended the UI and in 1972 received the Distinguished Service Award from the UI Alumni Association. A former director of the Carver Pump Company, she currently serves as a member of the board of directors of Bandag, Inc. of Muscatine and also served on the UI Foundation board from 1981 to 1985.

In addition to $1.2 million provided by the Roy J. Carver Charitable Trust of Muscatine for construction of the facility, support for MRERS comes from a number of sources. Marie F. Carter of Bettendorf furnished the classroom in memory of her husband, UI alumnus Archie N. Carter, and Richard and Mary Jo Stanley of Muscatine provided a gift to equip the water-quality laboratory. Stanley Consultants, Inc designed the building. The Iowa Department of Natural Resources (DNR), which operates a fish hatchery next door, provided three acres of land to the university through a no-cost lease. IIHR has allotted space for two DNR offices in the building. Agreements for future collaboration have been signed by the University of Iowa and the National Audubon Society Upper Mississippi River Program and the National Mississippi River Museum and Aquarium, located in Dubuque. Other agreements are being finalized.