Lycoming College’s Clean Water Institute supports summer research

Thirteen students are spending their summers as interns with the Lycoming College Clean Water Institute. Several projects are being conducted under the direction of CWI directors Mel Zimmerman, Ph.D., professor of biology, and Peter Petokas, Ph.D., CWI research associate.

The main project for the summer is to continue the Unassessed Waters Project, in partnership with PA Fish and Boat Commission, Zimmerman said. Since 2010, the CWI has completed 230 unassessed waters using backpack electrofishing equipment in the Loyalsock, Lycoming and Pine Creek watersheds. This summer, the institute is working on completing at least 80 streams in the Pine, Lycoming, Antes Fort and White Deer Hole creek watersheds.

Projects include water quality monitoring of the West Branch of the Susquehanna River from Lock Haven to Sunbury, surveys of eastern hellbender populations in north central Pennsylvania streams, monitoring of water quality before and after best management practices are established on farms in the several watersheds, pre- and post-stream restoration studies along creeks in northern Lycoming County, and designing and presenting educational programs and activities about Pennsylvania wildlife topics to campers at Camp Victory, Millville.

The students also will work with Cromaglass and Archaea Solutions Inc. to determine if microbes can degrade wastewater in salt water environments, and study sewer plant discharge sites.

Participants include seniors Jenna Baker, Newfield, N.Y.; Chelsea Brewer, South Williamsport; Lynette Dooley, New Milford; Sarah Fetherolf, Hamburg; Brian Gordon, Baltimore, Md.; Cory Trego, Pottstown; and Emily Vebrosky, Frackville; and juniors Kourtney Mottern, Danville; Alyssa Sechler, Turbotville; and Laura Shelmire, Trout Run. Sophomore participants are Miranda Giraldo, Hudson, N.H.; Clayton Good, Muncy; and Sarah Pedrick, Salem, N.J.

The internships were made possible through grants and support from the Degenstein Foundation, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Foundation, the Pine Creek Headwaters Protection Group, the Pine Creek Preservation Association, Tioga County Trout Unlimited, Rose Valley Mill Creek Watershed Association, Tioga County Conservation District, Wetlands Training Institute, Archaea Solutions Inc. and a Pennsylvania Growing Greener grant to Lycoming County.