Water Quality Improvement Through Community Campus Partnerships

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Afterschool Outreach Enviroscape Project

Dr. Jean Gleichsner developed a service-learning project consisting of educational booths and other informative activities related to water quality at the Home and Garden Show at the Hays Mall, March 10-11, 2007. Staffing the booths were students from Dr. Gleichsner’s Soil Fertility and Fertilizers (AGRI 626) and Agronomic Crop Insects (AGRI 305) courses. The purpose of the booths was to increase awareness of water quality concerns among the Home and Garden Show attendees.

Students from Dr. Gleichsner’s courses answered questions about water quality and demonstrated the impact of pollution on watersheds through the use of Enviroscape. Enviroscape is an environmental model representing residential, recreational, agricultural, industrial and transportation areas, or all possible sources of water pollution. The Enviroscape is designed to teach water quality issues and best management practices, specifically the impact of point and nonpoint source pollution on a watershed.

Additional booths displayed posters explaining the difference between point and nonpoint source pollution, and provided a variety of educational brochures about best management practices, such as rain gardens and rain barrels. Home and Garden Show attendees were encouraged to sign up for the water pledge to receive a plastic bracelet with water quality information. Activities for children included painting white T-shirts with nature-themed foam stamps.


Big Creek Watershed Monitoring Project

Dr. Robert Stephenson conducted a water sampling project in the Big Creek Middle Smoky Hill River watershed. The project focused on several monitoring sites in rural and urban areas of the Big Creek and Smoky Hill River watersheds in Ellis County, Kansas. Specifically, sampling frequency consisted of eight monitoring locations sampled biweekly and after storm events that produce water run-off. The City of Hays was interested sampling water at the sites to better plan and manage stormwater while developing and incorporating water quality management practices into the City of Hays expansion. The City of Hays did not previously have monitoring data to quantify the pollutant load for this portion of the watershed. Fort Hays State University students took an active role in water quality sampling and were responsible for reporting the results to the community. Sample analysis consisted of total nitrogen, total phosphorus, E. coli, total suspended solids, temperature, pH, salinity, specific conductivity, dissolved oxygen, percent dissolved oxygen saturation, flow rate, stream depth, and site observations. The monitoring data allowed for targeting of specific areas of concern in the watershed. Several poster presentations were conducted, including one at the Home and Garden Show at the Hays Mall, March 10-11, 2007 (pictured).