No we will not attempt explaining DNA analysis in a short blog post!
But here’s the short story… This year-long project will test whether the DNA of bacteria in our waterways can be used to accurately identify sources of pollution, including fecal bacteria – which we know is of central interest to us, the Laurel WID and all our partners in the Whatcom Clean Water Program. As water quality in the Nooksack basin gradually improves, it is getting harder to find and eliminate those few sources that still keep the Portage Bay shellfish beds conditionally closed. If new tools like this can help we will all be celebrating!
Recent state funding has enabled an expansion of work on this idea that began locally, which we and others have been following for a year or so. Many folks have high hopes and expectations for this promising technology, for good reason; the possibilities are tantalizing! But there are also many uncertainties, so managing expectations is important too. This is a great example of the local research by WCD and others; let’s get started! For more details, see the full press release here: WCD press release – DNA project (pdf document)