Watershed Plan Implementation Begins with Stream Sampling
In the 2019 field season,PRWC launched a new stream sampling program as the first step in implementing the Watershed Based Plan that was completed last fall. While organizing the Plan, PRWC recognized the need for updated datasets and a larger network of sampling sites to establish an improved baseline of water quality conditions, further characterize pollutant sources and problem areas, and further bracket priority areas for implementing non-point source pollution and stormwater run-off reduction projects. Last Spring, with start-up grant funding from the Argall Hull Foundation (First Church of Bethlehem), PRWC collected samples from 14 sites along the Pomperaug, Weekeepeemee, and Nonnewaug Rivers. Each month between May and August, two samples from each site were collected and analyzed for E. coli bacteria and nitrate. Each round of sampling yielded bacteria results well within the thresholds for safe recreation except for one site on the Nonnewaug which was collected after a rain event in June. In most cases, bacteria levels were lower farther up the river with a few exceptions that will continue to be monitored. If trends arise, actions can be taken to reduce pollution inputs in these areas. Results of the bacteria sampling have now been added to our website with data integrated into an interactive map for users to view the most recent bacteria levels. The map continues to be refined and will be updated regularly this season with sampling results.
Grant funding from Connecticut Department of Energy and Environmental Protection will support streamwalk assessment surveys which will help further bracket problem areas and identify priority areas for implementing non-point source pollution and stormwater run-off reduction projects.
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All of PRWC's programs and activities underscore our collective roles as stewards of our environment and promote good habits to keep our watershed and rivers healthy.