About the NCWQR

Annual Report

Detailed information about the activities and programs of the National Center for Water Quality Research (NCWQR) in Fiscal Year 2012 (July 2011 through June 2012) is presented in our Annual Report.


Our mission is to support the sustainable use of soil and water resources and help protect human health and the ecological integrity of aquatic ecosystems through research, monitoring, education, and outreach.

Activities and Services

The National Center for Water Quality Research (NCWQR) is a research arm of the science departments of Heidelberg University. Its staff of ten scientists and technicians assisted by student trainees encompasses expertise in fields ranging from water chemistry to biomonitoring and watershed modeling.

The NCWQR operates the Heidelberg Tributary Loading Program, which covers surface drainage from over half of the land area of the State of Ohio with thirteen stations in the Lake Erie and Ohio River basins including a station on a tributary of Grand Lake Saint Marys and a fourteenth station on the River Raisin in southeastern Michigan. Collectively, these studies provide the longest and most detailed record of nonpoint source pollution available for any river system in the United States.

The NCWQR provides water testing for surface water and well water samples, and training and technical resources for environmental and educational organizations. If you think we might be able to help you or your organization in efforts pertaining to water quality, please contact us to explore how we might work together.

The NCWQR also carries out research and monitoring programs on biological limnology and lake, stream and wetland ecology. Special emphasis is placed on bioassessment (biomonitoring) of Lake Erie and its tributaries using benthic macroinvertebrates. Our biological staff is certified to conduct stream habitat assessments and is highly skilled in macroinvertebrate taxonomy as well as in the design and implementation of stream and lake biological surveys.

As a consequence of our rigorous quality assurance programs, our rapid “turn-around” time on sample analyses, and our informed interpretation of environmental data, many organizations and agencies, including the US Environmental Protection Agency, the US Department of Agriculture, and the US Geological Survey work collaboratively with the NCWQR and have come to rely on the data and analyses that we produce. For specific information regarding our research and educational activities, click on the links on the left side of this screen.

All activities of the NCWQR, other than teaching, have always been supported entirely by extramural funds from federal and state governments, industries, foundations and individuals through grants, contracts, analytical services and contributions.

The National Center for Water Quality Research occupies the top floor of Gillmor Science Hall on the Heidelberg University campus


Started by Professor of Biology Dr. David B. Baker as the River Laboratory in 1969, the laboratory was renamed the Water Quality Laboratory in 1974. Early research projects centered on nutrient and sediment loadings from Ohio rivers flowing into Lake Erie. The lab extended its studies to Lake Erie in 1978 as a participant in the binational Lake Erie Intensive Study, added pesticide analyses to its monitoring programs in 1980, and incorporated three major tributaries of the Ohio River to its loading studies in 1996. Through a resolution of the U.S. House of Representatives introduced by Ohio’s Representative Paul E. Gillmor, the name changed to the National Center for Water Quality Research in 2004.