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FSU Tag Line

The fundamental Objective of the Silent Killer Project (SKP) is to cultivate and promote a deeper respect and appreciation for the sensitivity of the natural environment to human activity, and emphasize that we are responsible and accountable for our actions both locally and regionally.


Members of SKP will collect and interpretation data which will lead to a better understanding of salt contamination and mobility within the Sand Spring Run watershed, with particular examination of the FSU campus.

The SKP project will allow the identification of watershed environmental conditions and how they change over a 12 month period.  A detailed understanding of the life cycle of the salt we apply, will be fundamental to the development of sensible and sustainable FSU Land-Management policies, mitigation strategies, educational and community outreach.

In short SKP aims to:

  • Implement a monitoring program to record a 12 month period that will characterise the cycle of salt application, residence and movement.
  • Develop a team from a diverse and varied background, bring both Scientists and non-Scientists together to work towards a common cause.
  • Undertake a 12 month (fall 2011-2012) monitoring program of stream channels and multiple soil profiles incorporating different land-use types throughout the SSRW.  Water/soil conductivity (measurement of salt), temperature, moisture, respiration and erosion will be monitored.
  • Following the first 12 months of the project the primary data will be used as an Environmental baseline for the FSU Physical Plant department to develop a sustainable land management policy to reduce potential detrimental human impacts.
  • SKP team members will be trained in the installation of remote monitoring equipment, maintaining field equipment and retrieving datum.  Members will also provide public presentations in local, regional and international conferences to raise awareness of the local and upstream impacts of mixed land-uses in watersheds.
  • Continued monitoring will establish a legacy project for new cohorts of students within the Department of Geography and student organizations such as the Geography Club, Wildlife Society, and the Learning Green Living Green (LGLG) to help an attitude change in student’s mindsets towards respect for the environment and to embrace a sustainable lifestyle.
  • Data from the project will provide the university the mechanism to demonstrate to local, regional and academic communities that Frostburg State University is a leader in changing institutional and individual attitudes and behavior towards environmental issues and achievable sustainability.
  • Project members will work with Frostburg area schools and provide ample opportunity for school teachers/children to incorporate the monitoring data into their own Earth Science/Environmental Science curriculum, establishing watershed awareness in a younger population in Frostburg.

The transition to sustainable land-use practices is not going to be easy or painless; difficult questions need to be asked.  If at the end of this study the data clearly demonstrates a detrimental impact of "salting”, then the collaborative approach will allow information to be disseminated clearly.  This will allow multiple facets of the Frostburg related community to contribute to developing and implementing sensible sustainable land management policies to be implemented locally but will have a positive impact throughout the Chesapeake Bay watershed.