Deploying Data Loggers and Collecting Stream Samples
As part of DEEP’s Volunteer Stream Temperature Monitoring program (VSTeM), PRWC has maintained a network of monitoring sites throughout the watershed since 2012. This week, PRWC staff and volunteers are preparing and deploying 10 data loggers to record water temperature every hour between June and mid-October. PRWCwill retrieve loggers in the early fall (September-October) and submit them to DEEP for download and data analysis. Over the winter, PRWC will analyze the data to identify trends and correlations to air temperature and precipitation. The data generated by the Volunteer Stream Temperature Monitoring Network volunteers are instrumental to DEEP’s water quality standard development, fish habitat assessment, and potential stream habitat restoration efforts.
The data collected from June 1 to August 30 are the most critical in evaluating the thermal regime of a river - warm, cool/transitional, or cold. Certain species of fish including the eastern brook trout depend on cold water to survive, while other species like bass and perch prefer warm water and others still are able to thrive in a wide range of water temperatures. As eastern brook trout is a species particularly vulnerable to climate change, the identification and protection of cold water streams is a high priority throughout the northeast.
Through its Ambient Water Quality Monitoring Program, PRWC monitors stream quality markers like E. coli bacteria and nitrate from April through October. In the fall, PRWC conducts macroinvertebrate sampling through CT DEEP’s Rapid Bioassessment by Volunteers (RBV) program.
With three stream segments previously identified by CT DEEP as having high bacteria levels, PRWC is collecting more widespread data to better understand the extent of the impairments and potential sources of bacteria and where to focus efforts to reduce the pollutant load.
Pomperaug River Watershed Coalition was formed by its founders in response to threats to water resources over 20 years ago. PRWC has been science based since its founding and continues to accomplish its mission by employing the latest science to advance best management of the watershed. Staff and volunteers seasonally monitor temperature, bacteria and nitrate, and macroinvertebrates and apply and share this data in a multitude of ways. Results provide a basis to identify areas in need of remediation or restoration, inform management tools, and guide decisions that impact local water resources.
Recent bacteria levels may be viewed through PRWC’s online interactive map.