Dr. William Mitsch is a professor of natural resources and environmental science and director of the Olentangy River Wetland Research Park at The Ohio State University in Columbus. In 2004, Professor Mitsch and Dr. Sven Erik Jørgensen, a professor of environmental chemistry at the Danish University of Pharmaceutical Sciences in Copenhagen, Denmark, were awarded the Stockholm Water Prize for their pioneering development and global dissemination of ecological models of lakes and wetlands, widely applied as effective tools in sustainable water resource management. Their theoretical and applied work on lake and wetland ecosystems, management of lake and wetland water quality, and lake, river and wetland conservation, restoration and usage has been acknowledged and implemented in both developing and developed countries.
Dr. Mitsch designed Olentangy River Wetland Research Park at The Ohio State University, a world-class wetland research and education facility. There, among other focus areas, research on the ecological restoration of the Mississippi-Ohio-Missouri Basin is being spearheaded. To help reduce coastal pollution in the northern Gulf of Mexico, the ultimate depository of the Mississippi, he has also taken the role as leader in the debates, studies and resolutions dealing with coastal wetland losses in the U.S. state of Louisiana. He has also shown that constructed wetlands can be engineered for use as buffering and purification systems, as has Dr. Jørgensen, who for the last nine years has been responsible for a project in Tanzania to develop better knowledge of such systems. In practical terms, artificial wetlands can be ideal for use as an inexpensive, final stage in the domestic wastewater treatment process – an approach which could have significant meaning for the developing world.