Students Research Water Quality in Penokee Range Near Site of Possible Iron Mine

By KBJR News 1

December 14, 2010 Updated Dec 14, 2010 at 11:22 PM CDT

ASHLAND, WI (Northland's NewsCenter) - Northland College students briefed residents of Morse, Wisconsin tonight about their water quality research in the Penokee Range.

The research was done at a site under consideration for mining.

The students took samples from nine different streams in an 20-mile area of interest to iron ore miners.

The students wanted to inform residents of how the water quality currently is, so they have statistics for comparison, if mining happens.

The students took samples of insects out of the water to test the different populations.

Certain species can only live and thrive in certain water level conditions.

The students say all the streams tested showed near perfect water quality, but also the yield of water was low.

Their theory is that a mine could disrupt water quantity and quality if a mine were to go in.

"Its going to break everything up, create a lot of sediment and then that sediment is going to wash down the stream, basically organic pollution," said Benjamin Hughey.

"People are really interested in long-range and positive planning for the area, but they want to look at all the issues, not just the economical," said director Grant Herman.

The students say any impact from mining could affect whole Great Lakes Basin.

The director says several community members in Morse are on board because of the economical possibilities of having a mine.

The mine has not yet been proposed.

Before a mine would go in, the company, Gogebic Taconite must first make a proposal to the state, and that has not yet happened.

The last time Wisconsin had a working mine was in 1997.

Posted to Web by Jena Pike