HWS Water Quality Research Highlighted - Hobart and William Smith Colleges
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HWS Water Quality Research Highlighted

The Auburn Citizen recently featured the water quality-monitoring work in the Finger Lakes region conducted through the Finger Lakes Institute by HWS faculty, staff and students.

In July, the Citizen article “Don’t mind us: Finger Lakes Institute monitoring Owasco Lake water quality” shadows Professor of Environmental Studies John Halfman and the research he is performing this year on Owasco Lake with environmental studies and/or geoscience students Serena Bradt ’18, Dylan Doeblin ’18, Kate Homet ’19 and Davis Ryan ’19 as well as Finger Lakes Institute Director Lisa Cleckner. In addition, Joshua Andrews ’20, a physics major, helped monitor the lake using drone technology under the guidance of Assistant Professor of Physics Ileana Dumitriu and Physics Lab Technician Peter Spacher Ph.D.

The various strands of the research measured everything from the dissolved oxygen, temperature, pH and alkalinity of the water samples, to the amount and types of algae and phosphorous in the lake.

“Every year, (John) Halfman takes the data collected and creates a report on the health of the lake,” the Citizen reports. “Last year, Halfman had reported that Owasco Lake’s water quality was improving, but harmful blue-green algae blooms were more toxic and more prevalent. This year’s bill of health remains to be seen.”

In April, the Citizen reported on a public discussion hosted by the Partners for Healthy Watersheds, which focused on ways large dairy farms can maximize livestock resources while minimizing nutrient run-off, a leading cause of the phosphorous and nitrogen buildup that causes algal blooms and endangers drinking water supplies. During the discussion, Halfman offered important insights and addressed questions from area farmers and concerned citizens.

The Finger Lakes Institute is dedicated to the promotion of environmental research and education about the Finger Lakes and surrounding environments. In collaboration with regional environmental partners and state and local government offices, the Institute fosters environmentally-sound development practices throughout the region, and disseminates accumulated knowledge to the public.

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