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Tuesday June 25th 2019

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Crowdfunding Fracking Science


Concerns about the effects of hydraulic fracturing on the environment and human health have prompted local communities to either ban or place moratoria on new well development. In nearby Weld County and across the country, however, the process continues, with new areas opening up to development all of the time. Even while the practice of hydraulic fracturing is among the most polarizing energy issues of our time, researchers are working to shed light on some of the unknowns that will allow us to make informed decisions based on sound science.

CU has become a haven for researchers seeking to quantify the social, economic, and environmental impacts of hydraulic fracturing. To add to this growing body of knowledge, Dr. Lee Stanish, a microbiologist at CU-Boulder, is leading a study of ground water wells in the Boulder area and in Pennsylvania, where fracking is developing rapidly. These two geographically distinct areas have unique geologies that will allow for comparisons of different methane sources. The study aims to find out if microorganisms that naturally occur in the water can help scientists identify the source of methane in groundwater. Success of this project could help us monitor water quality and determine the risks to our water supplies from natural gas extraction activities.

Recognizing the importance of water quality to our communities, Dr. Stanish is using a new funding platform called the #SciFund Challenge, which runs from Feb 5-March 5, 2014, to fund this project. Crowdfunding is a promising way for scientists to raise money for specific research projects. More information about her project can be found at:, or watch the video:

Can microorganisms help protect our groundwater from contamination by hydraulic fracturing? from Experiment on Vimeo.


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