Savannah River: NSF MRI Project
Clemson University has been awarded $3 million by the National Science Foundation's (NSF) Major Research Instrumentation (MRI) program to design, develop and deploy a basinwide network of computerized sensors to monitor water quality along the entire length of the 312 mile Savannah River as part of the Intelligent River® Research Enterprise.
The network will provide real-time data on water quality and flow rate at a scale that until now was cost-prohibitive. The data is critically needed to improve water resources management as demand increases for drinking water, hydroelectric power, recreation and industrial production. Battery-operated computers called "MoteStacks" will be inserted into buoy systems anchored to the river floor. External sensors will collect data on water temperature, flow rate, turbidity, oxygen levels and the presence of pollutants. The MoteStacks will process the data and transmit it to Clemson University's high performance computer system and the data will then be displayed on the Intelligent River® web site www.intelligentriver.org.
The Intelligent River® program is a campuswide interdisciplinary research initiative that was initiated in 2007 by Dr. Gene Eidson, director of the Institute of Applied Ecology. The program brings computer and environmental scientists together to develop new technologies for linking land use, energy production, climate change and water resources. The Savannah River project team includes hardware developers, software engineers, river ecologists, visual effects scientists, forestry and natural resource scientists, information technologists and applied economists.