From 2000 to 2005 the Center placed special emphasis on watershed monitoring and modeling, particularly at the river channel reach scale where faculty and students are involved in utilizing emerging geospatial technologies to tackle a number of problems including channel sensitivity to change, flood hazard, sediment transport, ground water exchange and other issues related to biological complexity and salmon habitat.
Since 2005, CSIR has focused its energies on environmental and economic problems related to shorelines and associate wetlands, which confront many rural-based agencies and communities in the Pacific Northwest. These problems include water quality, water quantity and availability, salmon habitat conservation and associated conflicts, flood and associated geologic hazards, and the impact on all of these resulting from land-use change. Potential solutions for some of these problems may lie in the emergence of geospatial tools for mapping, monitoring and modeling shoreline and watershed processes (including cumulative processes), yet some these tools typically remain in the domain of academic research and are rarely deployed in a problem solving context because of their expense and/or high levels of sophistication. In addition, crucial to the development of effective local plans that promote sustainable use of rural resources is an inventory and assessment of relevant physical processes, biological features, and land use alterations. However, many local land use planners are overwhelmed by the sheer mass of information available and confounded by the inconsistent formats and spatial scales of the data. Although state and federal agencies have improved access to some data sources, it remains a challenge to discern what is most useful and effectively integrate it into land use plans. One of the primary goals of CSIR is to evaluate emerging geospatial technologies, and to develop methods to use geospatial data to solve real problems on the ground. These pilot projects are then used as a foundation on which to build educational curriculum for training appropriate personnel in rural agencies and communities around the Pacific Northwest , and to disseminate information to a broader rural audience via collaborations with other western universities, journal articles, bulletins, conference presentations and web-based outreach. Where possible, CSIR attempts to incorporate stakeholders and interest groups in GIS-based community and watershed modeling, and subsequent decision-making processes.
Our education efforts include K12 students and pre-service teachers, and CSIR has been successful in gaining funding to help develop national geospatial curriculum at K12 level, and in developing methods and materials to enhance integrated K12 curriculum. Projects include the mapping and modeling of Cougar habitat in the Central Washington Cascades by K12 students, developing GIS-based modules aimed at enhancing teaching of Washington State Education Essential Academic Learning Requirements (EALR's), and teaching pre-service teachers about geospatial technologies and their potential for delivering a more exciting, project-oriented integrated curriculum.
CSIR is anchored on the wide variety of faculty and staff expertise existing at Central Washington University in programs and technologies such as:
The involvement and participation of undergraduate and graduate students in CSIR projects is deemed essential to the overall mission of CSIR, and the Center has been able to offer scholarships to students wishing to work in various environmental and modeling application areas of geospatial science.
CSIR has established working, Cooperative Relationships with: