Training for the Stream Team

Escondido Travel Blog

 › entry 6 of 16 › view all entries
Now for water chemistry testing....
This is sort of a cool class I went to last weekend. It's actually training for volunteers, but I went for work to learn some of the sampling techniques they use.

It's actually an interesting setup. The State of California has no money to monitor water quality in it's streams, so some of the creative members of the Regional Water Quality Control Board set up a program to get citizen volunteers to do the fun part of the monitoring - hiking out to creeks and assessing the habitat, so they just have to deal with analyzing the results with the skeleton of a staff that's left.

The old way of doing it was to hire companies to collect water samples, then spend a fortune to send them to labs for analysis. Plan two, not having any funding anymore, you evaluate the water quality based on what's living in the stream.
Testing for various contaminates
... It's actually pretty simple, the different creatures in a stream have different tolerances to toxins in the water. Something like a dragonfly larva or mosquito larva can live in anything, while something like a stonefly larva lives only in the most pristine water, with a gradient of creatures in between. All with different tolerances. So... phase one, you get a net and see what's living there, phase two, a little supplemental water testing that can be done in the field, phase 3, a standardized evaluation of the overall habitat. That's it, you have a really nice data set collected once a year, and over time you can see trends in the results and send up red flags to investigate the stream if something changes one year.

Actually anyone can get involved, and in most cases it takes two days of training and one day a year of sampling in a local stream. There are like a hundred local water monitoring groups in California, all working under SWAMP (Surface Water Ambient Monitoring Program) so if you ever want to get involved in such a thing, google Stream Team and your local area. The government page of it is http://www.waterboards.ca.gov/water_issues/programs/swamp/ , but being a typical government agency, it's not that easy to find what you're looking for on the page.
cneoridium says:
Yeah, I really like it, they really put a lot of work into finding a way to get really usable results from volunteers - usually such things are fun for people, but don't produce the best data...
Posted on: Apr 06, 2010
jenn79 says:
that is such a great program!!!
Posted on: Apr 06, 2010
Join TravBuddy to leave comments, meet new friends and share travel tips!
Now for water chemistry testing....
Now for water chemistry testing....
Testing for various contaminates
Testing for various contaminates
The guy in the water is the head o…
The guy in the water is the head …
The volunteers are mostly retired …
The volunteers are mostly retired…
Sampling insect larvae off the bot…
Sampling insect larvae off the bo…
My sampling partner for the day ma…
My sampling partner for the day m…
Escondido
photo by: AmeNoMiKumari