National Science Foundation grant in 1972 supported study of effects of pesticides, flood plain geology, fertilizer runoff, and other areas
Interdisciplinary teams of faculty and students have been involved in the dam removal project on the Bushkill Creek for more than 15 years. But it’s not the first time that Lafayette has studied the creek.
In the summer of 1972, G. Earl Peace Jr. ’66, then a chemistry professor at Lafayette, was involved in an $18,600 National Science Foundation grant received by Roger K. Young ’73 to support the first comprehensive study of Bushkill Creek.
According to an article in the spring 1974 issue of the alumni magazine, it was the largest undergraduate grant in Lafayette’s history at the time and the most money allocated by the NSF in the state for an undergraduate research project originated by students.
The study began at an ideal time, Peace said in the article, because the highway department had altered the course of the stream five years earlier, and the young scientists were able to study how a stream acclimates itself to a new setting.
Choosing Peace as their faculty adviser, Young and a staff of nine student assistants studied the chemical aspects, the effects of pesticides, the geology of the floodplain, stream flow, and made a population census through water analysis.
The 238-page study concluded that major damage had been done to the stream by animal waste and fertilizer runoff from farms bordering it and by the ecological changes resulting from housing developments along its route.
The report also cautioned that damming the creek at Jacobsburg, as the state had proposed, would adversely affect the stream. The study was submitted to the state and became consulted as the primary source material about the Bushkill.