Students launch water quality study at Voyageurs National Park

Thursday, September 28, 2006

The seven SCSU students who joined a professor on a research outing in Voyageurs National Park early this summer were advised to pack, among other things, a sleeping bag, flashlight, boots and several pairs of socks "as you will get wet and mucky." The professor himself promised to bring along "write in the rain" notebooks and pens for each participant.

Cell phones and laptops? Not needed – no access.

Students launch water quality study at Voyageurs National ParkAssociate Professor Matt Julius, biological sciences, and his students spent two weeks collecting water samples from Rainy, Kabetogama and Namakan lakes in an effort to determine what impact, if any, houseboat grey water discharge has on water in the protected national park. Grey water is non-sewage water such as runoff from showers, sinks and decks on watercraft, the only craft allowed in the park.

The students earned three credits for the project as well as real research experience and the chance to interact and network with employees of the National Park Service, U.S. Geological Survey and Minnesota Pollution Control Agency. One student stayed on, as an intern, to spend the rest of the summer completing the sampling work.

The U.S. Department of the Interior-National Park Service and SCSU funded the work. It is anticipated that the SCSU course and summer internship will begin a five-year partnership to bring SCSU research expertise to the water-based park on the northern Minnesota border.

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