March 18. 2014 11:00AM - Last modified: March 18. 2014 11:55AM

Fund for Lake Michigan boosts clean water research at UWM

The Fund for Lake Michigan has approved a $500,000 grant to the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee School of Freshwater Sciences to support its $53 million expansion along Milwaukee’s inner harbor.
Rendering of the UWM School of Freshwater Sciences' expansion building, opening this summer. The Great Lakes Genomics Center will be located in this new facility.

The grant will support the Great Lakes Genomics Center, the nation’s first research center dedicated solely to the application of ground breaking genomic and molecular tools to address the issues of freshwater management, protection, restoration and preservation. With this research, scientists hope to develop new technologies and more cost-effective strategies to improve the Great Lakes’ watershed – just as the Human Genome Project produced new understanding of human diseases and strategies to combat them.

“Our grant to UWM is part of the Fund’s broad-based strategy to improve water quality in southeastern Wisconsin, whether through applied research, habitat restoration, beach improvements or urban waterfront redevelopment,” says Vicki Elkin, the fund’s executive director.

“Through the generosity of the Fund for Lake Michigan, UWM can further position itself as a leader in cutting-edge research addressing some of the world’s most pressing clean water issues and, at the same time, strengthen our local economy,” says UWM Chancellor Michael Lovell.

The gift is part of a “challenge grant” established by the Fund and will leverage financing for the Genomics Center to invest in state-of-the-art equipment, most notably a second DNA sequencer. This was made possible through a secured grant from the Milwaukee Metropolitan Sewerage District and a donation by Kikkoman Foods, Inc.

“The Fund for Lake Michigan has become an integral and vital partner in supporting Milwaukee’s efforts to expand the region’s international leadership as a water technology hub,” saids Rich Meeusen, co-chair of Milwaukee’s Water Council and chief executive officer of Milwaukee-based Badger Meter Inc.

The Fund for Lake Michigan is a philanthropic organization whose mission is to support efforts aimed toward the enhancement of Lake Michigan, its shoreline and tributary river systems. Since 2011, the Fund has awarded 75 grants to support high-profile projects in the area to benefit the people, plants and animals of southeastern Wisconsin.

The UWM School of Freshwater Sciences is the only graduate school in the nation to offer the focused study of freshwater sciences.