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Vanguard students develop new and innovative solutions to help improve Moses Lake's water quality

Updated: Apr 18, 2023

On March 21st, the Moses Lake Watershed Council (MLWC) meeting was held at Moses Lake School District’s Vanguard Academy where sixty-plus students presented the results of their blue-green algae research projects. The 20 or so members of the MLWC were shown exhibits including posters, experiments, and PowerPoints reflecting new and innovative solutions to help improve the water quality of our lake. Students and MLWC members were able to interact, share ideas, and discuss future opportunities to potentially implement some of the students' innovative recommendations.

The project was a partnership between the MLWC and Vanguard Academy, and had a learning objective of helping students develop their ability to see problems from other people's viewpoints, empathize with others, and think creatively to solve a community problem. Led by their teachers, Kristin Beich and Tracy Strophy, the students were asked to adopt the perspective of a particular stakeholder (Fisherman/Hunter, Swimmer/Boater, Lakefront homeowner, Scientist, Farmer, Naturalist/Birder) and then look for ways to mitigate for the presence of blue-green algae in Moses Lake.

As part of the research phase, students attended an online seminar on blue-green algae, hosted by the Moses Lake Irrigation District and presented by Shannon Brattebo. Brattebo is an environmental engineer with Tetra Tech in Spokane, Washington, and an expert on Moses Lake water quality.

The results of the students’ work was well received and reflected the creativity of great young minds. Columbia Basin Conservation District’s community engagement coordinator, Ronnie Sawyer, organized the event as part of the district’s education and outreach program. It was capped off with a pizza lunch hosted by the Central Washington Fish Advisory Committee, a local non profit environmental organization.

The public is invited to view several of the students' presentations at the upcoming Desert Lawns and Landscapes Seminar to be held at the City of Moses Lake’s new Larson Park and Recreation Center (610 Yakima Ave. Moses Lake) on May 6th, from 10am to 2 pm. The seminar will inform citizens about ways they can help preserve water quality and quantity in the Moses Lake Watershed.


For more information, contact Ronnie Sawyer, CBCD's Moses Lake community engagement coordinator at

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