Dr. David Baker, Director Emeritus, National Center for Water Quality Research at Heidelberg College (OH). For nearly forty years, Dr. David Baker has devoted his life’s work to achieving a better understanding of water quality issues in the Lake Erie Basin, and, above all, to improving the health of these waters. It all began with a biology class project. What the class found was that loading of nutrients and sediments were higher during storm events, while most water quality standard testing of the time by government agencies was being done during low fl ow conditions. This pointed toward the significance of non-point source contributions to the health and quality of the Lake Erie watershed. In 1969, Dr. Baker founded the Water Quality Laboratory at Heidelberg College, which in 2005 was renamed the National Center for Water Quality Research (NCWQR).
Monitoring of tributaries to both Lake Erie and the Ohio River has grown over the years and today the NCWQR operates the Ohio Tributary Monitoring Program, which covers over half of the state of Ohio with ten sites and another site on the River Raisin in southeastern Michigan. Collectively, these studies now provide the longest and most detailed record of non-point source pollution available for any river system in the United States.
Even as he was active nationally and regionally, Dr. Baker offered his help locally and played an important role in the formation of the Sandusky River Watershed Coalition in 1997, which has had great success in planning, educating and implementing actions to improve water quality and natural resources within the watershed. Today, Dr. Baker spends his “retirement” administering two multi-million dollar watershed improvement project grants on behalf of the NCWQR and Sandusky River Watershed Coalition.