This Integrative Graduate Education and Research Training (IGERT) initiative supports the establishment of a broadly-based graduate training program that will equip students to combine the social, economic and biological sciences in the study of environmental problems presented by freshwater ecosystems. Problem areas emphasized include studies of the economic value of environmental resources, the role of humans in the vulnerability of ecosystems to natural change, the impact of irreversible environmental changes, and the effect of ecosystem features on societal interactions. The project is a joint effort of 20 faculty from the Departments of Agriculture and Applied Economics, Civil and Environmental Engineering, Forest Ecology and Management, Limnology, Rural Sociology, Soil Science and Zoology. Educational opportunities center on three required IGERT seminar courses, one on selected topics related to current IGERT faculty research, one on relevant research methods, and one on team research during which student teams will test hypotheses generated from the topics and methods seminars. In addition to its education and research initiatives, the program undertook a continuous self-evaluation effort led by a faculty member from the School of Education. IGERT provides an opportunity for the development of new, well-focused multidisciplinary programs that bridge traditional organizational barriers, uniting faculty from several departments or institutions to establish a highly-interactive collaborative environment for both training and research.