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Drake Biology Students Walk On Ice To Test Park Water

February 16, 2006

CONTACT: Professor Wayne Merkley, (515) 271-2956, wayne.merkley@drake.edu
Daniel P. Finney, (515) 271-2833, daniel.finney@drake.edu

Drake University biology students will walk atop the ice-covered Witmer Park pond as part of scientific testing of the water there at 2 p.m., Thursday, Feb. 23.

While walking on ice, students will drill holes in the ice and take various samples from the pond to do physical, chemical and biological measurements from the water as it both enters and leaves the pond.

The students are studying the effects of Witmer pond’s “double dam.” Water flows into the pond from the Beaverdale neighborhood. A city-constructed artificial dam at the top end of the pond collects debris and trash before it enters the pond below. City crews collect the debris while the water enters into the pond via a pipe system.

The work is part of Drake biology professor Wayne Merkley’s limnology class that studies bodies of fresh water such as lakes and ponds. The testing will occur even if ice is thin or the pond is not ice-covered, so Drake students will be available for a photo opportunity regardless of weather.