Hagerman is ground zero for national study to control dust

By: Allison Harris Email
By: Allison Harris Email

POTTSBORO, TEXAS -- Federal biologists are here in Texoma this week, making Hagerman Wildlife Refuge a testing ground for what could be their next big break-through.

See something out-of-the-ordinary in this picture? There's no dust flying while driving down this gravel road.

That's all thanks to some U.S. Geological Survey biologists.

"We wanted to help Hagerman solve a problem here at the refuge and to do that in an environmentally safe way," U.S. Geological Survey biologist Bethany Williams said.

Scientists are at Hagerman Wildlife Refuge this week, testing products that control dust on gravel roads.

Their challenge: the products have to be environmentally safe.

"Right now, refuges are under a near moratorium on dust control because we don't know about some of those environmental effects," Williams said.

Bethany and her team of biologists have been researching dust-controlling products for two years. They've narrowed it down to three products that they think will work.

Those products are now on Wildlife Drive; ground zero for the study.

"We'll come back every few weeks for the next year and look at how the products are performing and then also look at the vegetation next to the road and look at the water quality," Williams said.

Hagerman Refuge Manager Kathy Whaley is excited that what happens here could change gravel roads across the nation.

"It can be used nationwide not only on national wildlife refuges, perhaps national parks, state parks, U.S. Forest Service lands and any county road that's dusty that needs control. This could be beneficial for that," Whaley said.

The biologists say there are three different companies that have created the three different products they're testing: Cypher Environmental, Midwest Industrial Supply and EnviroTech Services.

Their work shut down Wildlife Drive for the week, but it should be back up and running soon.

Live in the studio, Allison Harris, First News.


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