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Water is the topic for UW's Saturday U presentations on April 23 at Western

April 12, 2016

Water in the West wi
Water in the West will be the focus of Saturday U presentations on April 23 at Western.

Western Wyoming Community College and the Wyoming Humanities Council are partnering with the University of Wyoming Outreach School and the UW Foundation to bring UW’s traveling lecture series, Saturday University: The Free One-Day College Education, to Sweetwater County on Saturday, April 23, from 9 a.m. – 1:30 p.m. in Room 1309 at the Rock Springs campus. Two UW faculty members will join Western’s own Professor of Engineering and Earth Science Craig Thompson in delivering presentations focused on water issues in the West.

Lunch will be provided at 12:30 p.m. as part of a roundtable discussion and question-and-answer session with the day’s presenters. This event is free and open to the public. Doors open at 8:30 a.m. and no pre-registration is necessary.

The day’s Saturday U presentations will include:

From 9 - 10 a.m., “Montana v. Wyoming: The Yellowstone River Compact in the U.S. Supreme Court,” presented by UW Assistant Professor of Law Jason Robison.  

The U.S. Constitution allows states to form domestic “treaties” to reconcile their competing interests in interstate rivers. These treaties are called interstate water compacts, and perhaps most significant among them for Wyoming in recent years has been the Yellowstone River Compact. It has been at stake in the Supreme Court case of Montana v. Wyoming since 2007, and this presentation will survey the history and current status of this litigation.

From 10:15 – 11:15 a.m., “Climate, Drought, and Water in the West,” presented by UW Associate Professor of Geography Jacqueline L. Shinker.

The Intermountain West contains eight of the 10 driest states in the country. Much of the water resources in the region are dependent upon the natural reservoirs of seasonal mountain snowpack. Costly droughts in the region impact water resources for agriculture, energy, recreation, and municipalities. This presentation will provide context for recent droughts and the impacts of climate on past, present and future water resources in the West.

From 11:30 a.m. – 12:30 p.m., “Climate Change in the Alpine Zone,” presented by WWCC Professor of Engineering and Earth Science Craig David Thompson.

Overwhelming scientific evidence indicates that the effects of climate change will be most pronounced at higher latitudes and higher altitudes. High-altitude alpine areas may see rapid ecological change as glaciers disappear.  Wyoming's nationally important Wind River Range glaciers buffer against climate change, but they are disappearing. What will happen when the glaciers are gone?

Saturday U is an outreach initiative by the UW Outreach School that provides a college-style learning experience for residents in communities throughout Wyoming. There are no tests, no homework, and no stress, but UW faculty do provide fascinating presentation on topics of state and regional interest that they have researched extensively and taught about in their classes.

Western is pleased to join UW, the UW Foundation, and the Wyoming Humanities Council in presenting the Sweetwater County edition of Saturday U, on April 23 at 8:30 a.m. in Room 1309 at the Rock Springs campus. For more information, contact WWCC Assistant Professor of Spanish Nish Goicolea at or at (307) 382-1798. For more information about Saturday U, go to


For more information, contact Audrey Harton at (307) 382-1661 or
(307) 382-1600 or toll free (800) 226-1181