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Torrington, Laramie Graduate Students Earn Rhoads Water Resources Scholarships

April 22, 2011

A University of Wyoming graduate student studying best-management practices to protect groundwater in Goshen County and another examining transpiration changes in sub-watersheds during tree thinning have received the Willard C. and Elaine N. Rhoads Scholarship for Graduate Students in Water Resources.

Alex Wann of Torrington and Wendy Irwin of Laramie are rangeland ecology/watershed management students in the College of Agriculture and Natural Resources' Department of Renewable Resources The $2,500 scholarship honors Willard Rhoads, a strong proponent for water research at UW and long-time member of the Wyoming Water Development Commission.

Wann, a first-year graduate student, is beginning research on his thesis titled, "Evaluation of Best Management Practices to Protect Groundwater Quality in Goshen County, Wyoming: Trend Analysis and Technology Transfer," said Professor K.J. Reddy, his adviser.

"Alex loves water and is excited about how clean water can transform the world," said Reddy.

Irwin's research will quantify the effect of tree thinning on the transpiration processes in a sub-watershed in the Bates Creek watershed about 20 miles southwest of Casper, said her adviser, associate professor Ginger Paige, extension water resources specialist.

The Wyoming Game and Fish Department since 2005 has applied prescribed fire and thinning to big sagebrush and aspen stands in the watershed. UW has cooperated with the Wyoming Game and Fish Department and the U.S. Forest Service to study the short- and long- term effects of the treatments on hydrologic processes.

Both students are members of the master's program in hydrology and water resources ( and will receive dual degrees in rangeland ecology and watershed management/water resources. 

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