An article in Sunday’s Fort Wayne, Ind., Journal Gazette, cited the Lilly Center for Lakes and Streams at Grace College for helping boost Indiana’s water quality efforts. A portion of the story appears below. Click here to read the complete article.
Into the deep: Grace College program boosts state’s water-quality efforts
On a recent Friday afternoon, three pontoon boats converged near the middle of Winona Lake, at a spot where the water is deepest. Some of the passengers, all college students or younger siblings who had come along for the afternoon, clasped hands to hold the boats steady as others roped the vessels together.
At the front of the middle boat, oblivious to a light but steady rain, Nathan Bosch addressed his class. As students pulled up hoods and fastened jackets, Bosch described what they would be doing in the next hour and a half and offered a quick refresher on things they had discussed in his class at Grace College.
Bosch held up a series of gauges and buckets the students would use to probe Winona’s waters and record and analyze the results.
He reminded the students they would likely find the bottom layer of Winona, called the hypolymnion, would be cold water, with much warmer water in the top layer, known as the epilymnion.
“Are those two separate, or are they mixing together?” he asked the class. “Our hypothesis is that they’re separate – that right now Winona Lake is stratified into an upper layer and a bottom layer. So when we take measurements of both layers, we would expect those measurements to be different from each other, right?
“So we’re going to measure the two. We’re going to measure the biology. We’re going to look at if there’s any bloodworms” – midge fly larvae – “down at the bottom of the lake. The class yesterday found no bloodworms …
“We’re also going to look at it chemically. We’re going to look at some different chemistry tests for the bottom vs. the top. And we’re going to look at it physically. We’re going to look at things like the pH (the measure of acidity or basicity of a solution). We’re going to look at things like temperature and oxygen levels as well.”
Bosch, who has been teaching this class for 10 years, is director of Grace’s Lilly Center for Lakes & Streams, a research and education center aimed at bringing an evidence-based focus to the care of northeast Indiana waters. Housed in the Dr. Dane A. Miller Science Complex, the center has seven full-time and three part-time staffers, and 25 paid student interns. During the summer, it conducts weekly samplings at 14 lakes in Kosciusko County. The center also samples, every two weeks year-round, 14 streams that feed into lakes.
“These are the best-studied lakes in the state,” said Abby Phinney, the center’s communications specialist.
Helping protect lakes and streams in the Warsaw area and training students who hope for a career in such research are two key goals. The center is also part of a growing effort to raise consciousness statewide of the need to protect our water resources.
In a poll taken for the nonprofit Nina Mason Pulliam Charitable Trust last year, 90 percent of those surveyed said they were very concerned or somewhat concerned about pollution in Indiana’s rivers, lakes and reservoirs.
A 2014 report by the Indiana Chamber of Commerce noted that the Indiana economy is unusually dependent on water availability. Though it noted the state has been blessed with plentiful water, the report predicted our growing economy could increasingly strain ground and surface water supplies and called for serious commitment to a statewide water resource plan.
Click here to read the complete article.