Kewaunee County, Wisconsin has been called “ground zero” in debates over how best to address agricultural pollution in rural communities. Despite increasing evidence that runoff is contaminating drinking water sources, proposed solutions for protecting water quality remain politically divisive. Large-scale farmers, small scale farmers, environmental advocates and the agricultural industry are often at odds about the right approach to addressing the very real public health concerns stemming from this type of pollution.
With a grant of $20,000 from APSA’s Research Partnerships on Critical Issues (RPCI) program, political scientists at Marquette University will partner with experts in biology, computer science, education and environmental law to examine Kewaunee County’s ability to address the challenge of agricultural pollution. Their interdisciplinary research examines the political processes the Kewaunee community is using to address water pollution and evaluates recent policy changes. When the project concludes, researchers will bring key stakeholders in Kewaunee County together to reflect on their findings and to consider how the lessons learned in the county could inform other rural communities facing similar challenges.
RPCI grants support collaborative, research-based projects that tackle critical issues concerning citizens across the globe. Funded projects aim to demonstrate the value of political science to the public, to policymakers and the broader community through publicly-engaged research and to bring higher-ed based political scientists into conversation with policy-oriented experts across disciplinary and ideological lines.
“I would like to congratulate the recipients of the Research Partnerships on Critical Issues grant,” said Steven Rathgeb Smith, Executive Director of the American Political Science Association. “Their proposed work combines three invaluable elements of academic research – rigorous scholarship, interdisciplinary collaboration, and public impact. I applaud the scholars for their dedication and commitment to their community and to the discipline.”
The Research Partnerships on Critical Issues program is an initiative of the APSA Presidential Task Force on New Partnerships. This Task Force aims to deepen ties among political scientists, between political science and the public, and to strengthen the contributions of political science to the public good. Research Partnerships grants are made possible thanks to the generous support of the Ivywood Foundation.
Marquette University/Kewaunee County PIs: (pictured left to right)
- Dr. Amber Wichowsky, Department of Political Science, Marquette University
- Dr. Phil Rocco, Department of Political Science, Marquette University
- Dr. Jill Birren, College of Education, Marquette University
- Dr. Shion Guha, Department of Computer Science, Marquette University