June 25 lecture to focus on Clean Water Act's legacy

Overuse of groundwater. Pollution of Chesapeake Bay, Puget Sound and all the waters in between. Alligators deformed by birth defects linked to pesticides – and the possibility the same kinds of chemicals are causing human birth defects. Farming practices and policies that reduce erosion and pollution. Saving the environment by putting a price on it. Corporate sustainability.

Since early 2010, the Freshwater Society and the University of Minnesota College of Biological Sciences have jointly sponsored a popular lecture series focusing on some of the biggest challenges facing water in the 21st Century.

G. Tracy Mehan III

On Monday, June 25, G. Tracy Mehan III, an environmental consultant who was the top water-quality official in the Environmental Protection Agency from 2001 to 2003, will deliver the latest lecture in that series. It will focus on the 40th anniversary of enactment of the landmark Clean Water Act.

Mehan’s lecture is titled “The Clean Water Act After 40 Years: What Has it Accomplished? How Do We Fulfill Its Promise?”
He will speak about the Clean Water Act’s great success in cleaning up the pollution that once poured into our nation’s rivers from industry and from sewage treatment plants. And he will talk about today’s biggest water-quality challenge: Polluted runoff from multiple, diffuse sources, especially agriculture.

The lecture will be at 7 p.m. in the theater of the Student Center on the university’s St. Paul campus. Learn more and register to reserve your place at the lecture.

Mehan’s talk will be the eighth lecture in the Moos Family Speaker Series on Water Resources. The series honors the late Malcolm Moos, president of the University of Minnesota from 1967 to 1974.

Mehan is a principal in the Cadmus Group, an employee-owned environmental consulting firm in Arlington, Va. He also is an adjunct professor of environmental law in the George Mason University School of Law in Fairfax, Va.

Early in the George W. Bush administration, he served as the EPA’s Assistant Administrator for Water. He directed the agency’s Clean Water and Safe Drinking Water act programs, and developed EPA policies on watershed-based permitting and water-quality credit trading.

From 1993 to 2001, Mehan directed Michigan’s Office of the Great Lakes. He chaired a mercury pollution prevention task force that negotiated a phase-out of 9.8 tons of mercury used in switches in the auto industry.

Moos Family Speaker Series lecturers since 2010

ROBERT GLENNON, a University of Arizona professor of law and public policy who has written two recent books about how Americans over-use and under-value water.

HEDRICK SMITH, a Pulitzer Prize- and Emmy-winning reporter and filmmaker who produced “Poisoned Waters,” a PBS Frontline documentary on agricultural and urban pollution on both coasts.

LOUIS J. GUILLETTE JR., a reproductive biologist from the Medical University of South Carolina who spoke on his research on birth defects in alligators and their implications for human health.

CRAIG A. COX, a senior vice president for the Environmental Working Group who spoke on agricultural conservation strategies that can prevent erosion and reduce water pollution from the runoff of fertilizer and pesticides.

, a Stanford University ecologist who spoke on ecosystem valuation, the emerging effort to protect the environment by quantifying and putting a monetary value on the services humans receive from water and environmental systems.

FRED KIRSCHENMANN, a philosopher, distinguished fellow at Iowa State University’s Leopold Center for Sustainable Agriculture and a national expert on organic farming who spoke on water and the future of U.S. and world agriculture.

MINDY LUBBER, president of Ceres, a Boston-based nonprofit organization that works with investors to lead and pressure multinational companies to pursue sustainability in the water they use and the carbon they emit.

Did you miss a lecture? Six of the first seven lectures are archived on video.