Water quality project continues through sponsor support
Douglas – “What we are trying to do is stress the importance of water quality, and make it interesting to attract people here and help them understand that water quality is important and will become more and more important in the future,” explained Southeast Wyoming Resource Conservation and Development (RC&D) Coordinator Grant Stumbough during a recent open house for the Pathway to Water Quality project, which is in the works.
The Pathway to Water Quality will include a number of interactive projects for kids, a hoop house, grass plots, wetlands and will incorporate a number of innovative materials. It’s designed to be a long-term, continually evolving project that can be added to over the years.
Stumbough said the Wyoming State Fairgrounds are a great venue for the project.
“Fair attendance ranges between 43,000 and 48,000 annually, and there additional events year round on the grounds. That’s what makes this a good potential tool for reaching people,” added Wyoming State Fair Manager James Goodrich.
“One big benefit is this will diversify the State Fair. We all love the livestock and other exhibits, but it’s really neat to see the State Fair diversified to include natural resources. There are a lot of young people interested in natural resources and this is a great venue to reach them in,” noted Stumbough.
One partner in the project is the Wyoming FFA Foundation, and Stumbough said he hopes to include FFA members in choosing projects that appeal to young people and will be the most effective learning tools.
Cameco is another major sponsor, and recently donated $40,000 toward project efforts.
“We put a lot of effort into protecting ground water and surface water quality as part of our daily operations. Our main product, which is uranium, is produced using ground water, and when we’re done mining we want to return that ground water back to the condition it was prior to the start of our operation,” explained Cameco Resources President William Paul Goranson.
“A lot of the techniques and approaches to protecting water quality shown in this project are also techniques and approaches we want to pass on to the rest of the world, so they can learn what we do,” added Goranson.
“We’re at ground level, and this is when we need help the most. I think once we get it up and running it will become well known and very successful, but it will take a little while to lay a foundation from which we can build off of,” noted Stumbough.
“The first thing is to get the pathway installed, then get the projects, grass plots, wetlands and signage put in. Hopefully a year from now we’ll have those things in place and from there can begin some science curriculum and get some educational efforts put in place,” said Stumbough of the timeline for the pathway.