2020 Stream Assessments
With all of this years adjustments, PRWC's stream assessments are off to a great start. We have had multiple days in the field in the past few weeks and have the results back from our first week out. All of the sites sampled along the Nonnewaug, Weekeepeemee, and the Pomperaug Rivers showed well below safe levels of bacteria in the water for recreation (swimming and fishing). Great news if you are ready to get outdoors safely!
Launched at the end of May with temperatures ranging between 17 and 19 degrees Celsius (62 to 66 degrees Fahrenheit), the rivers are ready to cool you off this summer! The data loggers are programmed to record water temperature every hour for the entire summer, which adds a wealth of information to our stream data sets and helps us determine thermal class of our local rivers.
This year we added conductivity to our stream assessment repertoire. Conductivity measures the presence of dissolved solids in the water with how well it passes an electrical current. The dissolved solids, such as nitrate, sulfate, chloride, phosphate, sodium, magnesium, calcium, iron, and aluminum, are essential for aquatic life, but like all things, are good in moderation. High conductivity could indicate human influences such as agricultural runoff or sewage, while much lower conductivity could indicate oil spills.
These assessments will help to establish an improved baseline of water quality conditions, further characterize pollutant sources and problem areas, and further bracket priority areas for non-point source pollution, and stormwater run-off reduction projects.