The features that make wetlands fascinating places also contribute to their controversial status. No other land type is regulated as intensively, and few other habitats offer such a wide range of ecological benefits. We view wetlands as an important part, but only one part, of a much broader watershed palette, where understanding and protecting the linkages among wetlands, streams, riparian areas, and their surrounding landscapes, are essential.
Research conducted by Riparia is directed at understanding how these integrated systems function and how they are perturbed by human activities. Riparia is a leading proponent of integrating waters rather than treating streams, wetlands, and lakes as separate entities. Riparia produces and distributes objective and technically rigorous information about wetlands and related ecosystems and the issues surrounding their regulation and management to institutions, agencies, industries, and citizens.
Preserving and restoring this green infrastructure in the midst of where we live, work, and recreate is a formidable challenge to which we aspire. We believe that environmental and conservation-based investigations should follow ecologically relevant boundaries such as watersheds and ecoregions which are shared across state lines. For that reason, our study areas ebb and flow across state boundaries as the various issues require.
Since its founding in 1993, the Riparia has been administered by the Penn State Institutes of Energy and the Environment (PSIEE) where it continues to foster important interdisciplinary associations. In 2003, Riparia became integrated into the Department of Geography in the College of Earth and Mineral Sciences.
The work conducted by universities is changing. Expectations have changed and will continue to evolve in the coming years. To optimize a university’s contributions and achievements, its faculty, staff, and students, and the organizational structures that support them, must be flexible. They must foster innovation. They must be far-sighted. They must be competitive. In essence, they must be entrepreneurial. And yet, they must maintain the integrity of the academic setting. That is what Riparia is about. We hope that you will find our web site useful and informative.
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