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Microsoft grant helps organizations target pollution in Crow Creek

Crow Creek near Missile Drive in Cheyenne on Tuesday July 27, 2021.
Crow Creek near Missile Drive in Cheyenne on Tuesday July 27, 2021.(Will Thomas)
Published: Jul. 27, 2021 at 6:05 PM CDT
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CHEYENNE, Wyo. (PRESS RELEASE) - The Rotary Club of Cheyenne (Rotary) working in conjunction with Microsoft, the City of Cheyenne (City), the Laramie County Conservation District (LCCD) and Frog Creek Partners is pleased to announce the upcoming completion of the 2021 Crow Creek Water Protection Project. The project consists of the installation of 63 new stormwater filtration “gutter bins” in the City’s storm water collection system. Installation of the new gutter bins is now scheduled for July 12 – 14, 2021.

The project is being funded by a $100,000 Microsoft Community Environmental Sustainability grant that was awarded to Rotary in late 2020. The goal of the project is to help restore and protect Crow Creek in the Cheyenne area from the threat of stormwater pollution.

“Microsoft wants to be a good community partner and help protect the watershed it uses,” explained Dennis Ellis, Wyoming’s Microsoft Community Lead. “Microsoft is making an investment into the future of the Cheyenne community and the health of the planet.”

The Microsoft Community Environmental Sustainability initiative, part of Microsoft’s Datacenter Community Development program, actively works to protect the long-term environmental health of Microsoft datacenter communities. Through partnerships with local leaders and organizations, Microsoft supports and empowers innovative solutions to address community environmental needs.

The City, LCCD and Rotary began project planning efforts earlier this year and determined to focus on Capitol, Carey and Pioneer Avenues south of the State Capitol. Frog Creek Partners was selected to manufacture and install the 63 new stormwater filtration gutter bins. Frog Creek Partners is a Casper, Wyoming based environmental technology manufacturing company.

A gutter bin is a fabricated metal frame that directs stormwater into a filtration sock and the entire assembly is installed in an individual storm drain. As trash, plastic, debris, and sediment pollution is transported by stormwater into storm drains, the gutter bin filtration sock captures

the waste and pollution before it reaches the receiving stream. In Cheyenne, the receiving stream is Crow Creek.

The City’s Municipal Separate Storm Sewer System (MS4) operates under a National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) MS4 permit as required by the Environmental Protection Agency and administered by the Wyoming Department of Environmental Quality. The installation of gutter bins in the stormwater collection system improves water quality and enhances the City’s compliance efforts regarding the MS4 permit.

This project also aligns with two of Rotary International’s areas of focus: the environment and clean water.

“We’re thrilled to be partnering with Microsoft, the City, LCCD and Frog Creek Partners to help clean and protect the waters of Crow Creek,” said Brent Lathrop, immediate past-president of the Rotary Club of Cheyenne. “Part of our mission is to carry out Rotary International’s goals on a local level, and this project does just that.”

Frog Creek Partners estimates the typical gutter bin captures an

average of about 100 pounds of pollution per year. The team expects to divert away from Crow Creek and capture at least 6,300 pounds (over 3 tons) of pollution every year.

“This project builds on a clean water initiative between Rotary, the Laramie County Conservation District and the City of Cheyenne which started in 2019 to test the gutter bin stormwater filtration system. It is a prime example of an effective and productive public-private partnership that benefits a municipality, a non-profit organization, and private industry and the environment” Lathrop added. “The real winner is Crow Creek; a cleaner Crow Creek creates a more sustainable and resilient Cheyenne community.”

Rotary is a global network of 1.2 million neighbors, friends, leaders, and problem-solvers who see a world where people unite and take action to create lasting change – across the globe, in our communities, and in ourselves.

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