OEWRI collaborates with governments, consultants, agencies, environmental groups, and other universities to address water resources problem associated with urban and agricultural land management, biomonitoring, and water supply. OEWRI is involved with efforts to develop effective soil and water conservation practices for both urban and agricultural areas in the Ozarks. Urban projects include the evaluation of soil conditions and runoff characteristics for low impact developments, identifying causes of bed and bank erosion in urban streams, and understanding nutrient mobility in residential lawns. Local collaborators on these projects include the James River Basin Partnership, City of Springfield, and Greene County, Missouri. Agricultural conservation initiatives include a pilot study on the mobility of potential contaminants after field treatments with biosolids. Collaborators on these projects include the Department of Agriculture at MSU and the City of Springfield.
OEWRI also collaborates with aquatic biologists, limnologists, and microbiologists to use biomonitoring methods to evaluate the impacts of natural disturbance and human activities on river and lake biota. The projects involve surveys of macroinvertebrates, mussels, plankton, chlorophyll, and algae in streams and lakes. Biomonitoring surveys are used to compliment water quality studies if information on ecological impacts is required. In addition, OEWRI supports total-coliform and E. coli monitoring activities and microbial source tracking using a Bacteroides PCR assays in Ozark watersheds.
OEWRI is involved with regional committees and research initiatives to better understand water supply vulnerability in the Ozarks. Population growth and land use change in the region are straining water resources due to water shortages, nonpoint pollution, waste water and septic field releases, and water rights issues. OEWRI is presently involved with several community and regional initiatives to evaluate water supply problems in the southwest Missouri including the role that new infrastructure, conservation, and climate change may play on future supplies and economic growth. In addition, OEWRI is often included on emergency evaluation teams for sinkhole collapse and flood damage in Greene and Christian Counties, Missouri.