DNR Director to speak on water quality in Columbia

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COLUMBIA - The Director of the Department of Natural Resources (DNR) is coming to Columbia Wednesday to talk about water quality and the department's efforts to improve it. 

The lecture is part of the Robert O. Reich Executive-in-Residence Program, hosted by MU's College of Agriculture.

The program has been around for 20 years, and Sara Parker Pauley will be its 50th lecturer.

Pauley will be talking about water related issues including Missouri’s State Water Plan and the Soil and Water Tax.

The dean of the College of Agriculture, Tom Payne, said this topic is an important one.

"Water is one of the most if not the most important this on the face of the planet," Payne said. "We worry about food and everything else but water is really the big issue and water quality is of course paramount in that regard."

Pauley is an MU grad, with both a journalism and a law degree. She has been the director of the DNR since 2010, and starting in November she will transition to be the Director of the Department of Conservation.

"We're very excited that she's coming because she knows a lot about it and has been very instrumental in helping develop a program for water quality in our parks, in our natural areas, and has helped us in trying to raise funds for those kinds of activities," Payne said.

The Executive-in-Residence program aims to bring in speakers like Pauley, speakers with life experience that they can share with the students.

"The important thing about Executive-in-Residence is that these are notable individuals with knowledge in certain areas that come and spend time with our students," Payne said.