Harris: GCWIN, gathering data on Grand County water | SkyHiNews.com

Harris: GCWIN, gathering data on Grand County water

Thomas Harris
Green Corner

This month we are spotlighting another great non-profit here in Grand County and what it does for our community. GCWIN's mission is : To coordinate, manage and consolidate the comprehensive water quality monitoring, information and educational programs in Grand County, Colorado.

The Grand County Water Information Network (GCWIN) is a non-profit organization that gathers data on the waters of Grand County, Colorado. GCWIN was established in 2004 as a collaborative effort to enable better decision-making through science-based water quality monitoring, information-sharing, and educational programming. GCWIN's water monitoring programs have since expanded to include stream temperature, water quality, aquatic macroinvertebrates, temperature and conductivity in the three lakes region, lake clarity, and atmospheric deposition. One of GCWIN's main objectives is to collect water data and store it in our publically accessible database. Organizations that make water management decisions use GCWIN's data in their decision making, studies, and assessments. These organizations include Grand County, the Colorado River Conservation District, Denver Water, the Northern Colorado Water Conservation District, Trout Unlimited, Colorado Parks and Wildlife, the state of Colorado (CDPHE), and numerous others. The data GCWIN provides to these agencies is critical in scientific, data-driven water management.

Education

GCWIN also serves the community through education programs in grades 5 through 10. GCWIN is fortunate to get students out of the classroom and into the outdoors of Grand County each year. GCWIN's educational programs have exposed hundreds of students to their natural environments over the years. Last year, students from West Grand Middle School, East Grand Middle School, and Middle Park High School learned about where their drinking water comes from, how wastewater is treated, how we measure water quality, and why water quality is important. It was especially pleasing to see a lasting impact from these field trips at least year's West Grand Science Fair at West Grand High School in Kremmling. Two groups of students built upon what they learned in our programs and did science projects related to water quality in local streams. These programs would not be possible without the help and coordination of volunteers from natural resources organizations such as the Bureau of Land Management (BLM), US Forest Service, Colorado Parks and Wildlife, Trout Unlimited, Infinite West and countless others.

GCWIN can help lead student or professional groups on tours of Grand County watersheds OR you can experience the water systems in Grand County on your own through our Grand County Geo Tour! Volunteering for GCWIN is a fun way to help support environmental conservation in your own community. Whether you are a water professional, want to learn more about environmental issues, or just love our rivers, streams and lake – We welcome you to volunteer and keep our watershed healthy! Every third Thursday of each month we collect water samples for the EPA at 8 sites located throughout Grand County.

A volunteer is needed to assist GCWIN and EPA staff in gathering samples and water quality data. Please contact ryan.lokteff@gcwin.org if you are interested in any of our current volunteer opportunities.

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