One State, ONE day: 102 Sites Sampled

Although not technically a photograph, we have essentially taken a picture of NH water quality via our “snapshot” sampling events. A total of 102 sites across the state were sampled in ONE day. This happened three times this summer. This was made possible by the many collaborators and partners that make up the Lotic Volunteers for Temperature, Electrical Conductivity and Stage (LoVoTECS) volunteer network. The sensors used in this network continuously record electrical conductivity, temperature and river height data. A group of educators, researchers, government agencies, citizen scientists, members of local river advisory groups and non-profit organizations collect and share the data. They were also the ones to wake up early, go to their sites and take grab samples for these exciting events. This type of event could never have happened without their efforts!

These “snapshot” sampling events occurred between 7 -11 am on July 30th, Sept 3rd and Oct 15th.  Samples are being analyzed for nutrients that help us understand what ions are contributing to the electrical conductivity. Below is a list of specific analytes.

Major Ions: Calcium, Magnesium, Sodium, Potassium, Chloride, Sulfate, Nitrate. These are the major contributors to electrical conductivity, so they will help us interpret the water electrical conductance data.

Dissolved Organic Carbon and Nitrogen. This is an important part of water chemistry. It is important to metal transport or generally to aquatic ecosystems, so we are interested in seeing its values around the State.

Phosphorus: A major factor for aquatic ecosystem health. Often algal or other plant growth is limited by phosphorus availability.

pH: A basic characteristic that tells us the water’s acidity.

Turbidity: This measures how clear water is. It is also a basic measure of water quality.

Water Isotopes: Oxygen 18, Oxygen 16. This helps in identifying water sources.

Three of these events also occurred last year, and to our knowledge was the first of its kind in New Hampshire. We have now completed a total of 6 snapshots, which provides a rich data set for many stakeholders. If you are interested in exploring the data, please feel free to contact me: eahyde@plymouth.edu

To find out more about LoVoTECS, visit our website: (https://www.plymouth.edu/center-for-the-environment/projects/ecosystems-and-society-nh-epscor/nh-lovotecs-network/)

 

Photo credit: Rachel Whitaker and Jess Wilhelm

Author: Ashley Hyde- MS in ESP, 2014. Hydrologic technician for the Center for the Environment

Photo credit: Rachel Whitaker and Jess Wilhelm