SKC Students Analyze Water Quality

Nov 15th, 1996 | By | Category: 8-3: Ceremony, Tribal College News

For the past two summers, students majoring in environmental science at Salish Kootenai College (SKC) have been conducting water quality studies on the Flathead Indian Reservation in Montana. They have analyzed groundwater to determine the extent of nitrate and coliform pollution. They also analyzed nitrate‑contaminated ponds; a stream contaminated by chromium and coliform; and a stream polluted by silt, nitrates, and phosphates as the result of logging and agriculture.

The students’ studies have identified new sites of environmental contamination and further delineated poorly understood problems, according to Pete Ryan of SKC. The Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribes and local towns are using the research results in environmental planning and reclamation.

The students (Frank Finley, Casey Hawkins, Donna Heffner, Kathy Kimmel, and Joe Weaselhead) presented results of their studies at the annual meeting of the Montana Consortium/ Department of Energy (DOE) National Labs (Sandia, Los Alamos, and Oak Ridge). Results of the 1996 field season will be published in a journal prepared by the Department of Energy. They have submitted abstracts for meetings of the American Indian Science and Engineering Society, the American Society of Limnology and Oceanography, and the Geological Society of America.

Funding for these studies was provided by the DOE and was administered by the Montana Consortium, a group of four Montana colleges (SKC, Fort Peck Community College, Little Big Horn College, and Rocky Mountain College) in alliance with the DOE. The National Science Foundation All-Nations Alliance for Minority Participation will provide continued funding for the project through the academic year.

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