The Alabama Water Institute has named Michael Fedoroff as its new Director of Cultural and Water Resources Preservation at The University of Alabama. Fedoroff is a seasoned water resource professional with experience in applied water resource infrastructure and environmental restoration for the Department of Defense.
As director, Fedoroff is responsible for developing applied research avenues that fulfill the cultural and water resource preservation needs of Indigenous groups and underserved communities across the nation.
“I am excited to highlight the importance of Indigenous knowledge systems and local knowledge in integrated water resource research, cultural resource preservation and water management,” said Fedoroff.
A native of Mississippi, Fedoroff earned his bachelor’s and master’s degrees in anthropology from the University of Southern Mississippi. He has been working in the environmental and applied anthropology arena since 2009. His last assignment was serving as the deputy director and research lead for the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers national technical center for Tribal Nations, which is headquartered in Albuquerque, New Mexico. This position allowed him to work directly with Indigenous communities, the DoD and other federal agencies to collaborate and apply best science to water resource-related challenges across the U.S.
“I am passionate about building teams that consist of both hard science and the humanities, particularly incorporating non-Western approaches and knowledge into scoping research that serves local communities,” Fedoroff said. “Exploring solutions in this manner often provides the key insights needed for the complexities of water resource-related challenges.”
By hiring Fedoroff, AWI brings diverse ideas and non-Western perspectives to the institute to continue to increase its impact locally, regionally and nationally.
Fedoroff and his team will work to expand AWI’s presence through applied research activities with its affiliated faculty members, other research centers, Indigenous communities and industry and government partners. Locally, Fedoroff will build upon existing water research efforts that will benefit both Alabama and amplify the efforts of the UA research community as a national leader in water research.
“I will implement a series of research initiatives designed to incorporate Indigenous knowledge systems into a variety of water-related challenges both local and national in scale,” he said. “I am excited to work with the stellar team at AWI to serve these community needs.”