The Raccoon River Watershed Association at the Life in the Raccoon River Conference that was held at the Hotel Pattee in Perry last Friday and Saturday announced grants totaling $5,000 to students at Drake and Buena Vista Universities.

The funds will be used to expand on the work of last year’s recipient, Drake University student Andrew Rupiper. Andrew studied insects in the river near Jefferson following the oil spill last year. The 2014 grants will be used to support studies of invertebrate animals and water chemistry in the North Raccoon River. Drake student Becky Reynolds with her supervising Professor Keith Summerville will study the effects of various vegetation cover and land usage on invertebrate animals that live in the river. Her study area will be in the river between Adel and Booneville. Ethan Wilson, a student at Buena Vista University with his supervising Professor Melinda Coogan will study water chemistry in the Raccoon River south of Storm Lake.

During the past nine years the Raccoon River Watershed Association has hosted river clean-up projects, water quality testing, educational programs and research, as well as recreational activities on the Raccoon River. The organization has given over $15,000 to students and professors to study life in the river. If you are interested in making a tax deductible donation to promote further research contact Mike Delaney at 515-339-0438.