UMRCC Water Quality Survey Results – March 2011 Summary by John Sullivan, WDNR and John Olson, IDNR.
Summary by John Sullivan, WDNR and John Olson, IDNR
A general water quality survey of UMRCC members was conducted in March of 2011. The survey was distributed via email and also handed out at the annual meeting in Hannibal, Missouri on March 15. This was a rather informal survey and does not represent a random sampling of UMRCC members. The primary purpose of the survey was to gain some perspectives on what members believed were the primary pollutants and pollutant sources influencing the Upper Mississippi River and to rate the river’s general water quality condition and trends. The survey may also help provide some direction on UMRCC information and education efforts and help identify issues for future technical section meetings or annual meeting topics.
The sample size was only 58, which was about 10% of email distribution list. Some groupings had very low sample size, so treat the results accordingly. For example, there was only one response from the Law Enforcement section and only four respondents representing NGO groups. NGOs were not included in response breakdowns for federal and state UMRCC participants in questions 3 and 4.
Question 1 – Rating of listed pollutants.Nutrients was the clear winner though sediment continues to be a concern on the UMR. Oil and dredge disposal are not considered to be major pollutants of concern on the UMR. When looking at the responses by UMRCC technical sections, OREIT appeared to score differently than Fisheries, Water Quality and Wildlife. Perhaps this means more I & E exchanges are warranted between technical sections.
Question 2 – Primary sources of pollutants.Agriculture/Non Point Source scored very high – almost a perfect score of 5 (“high concern”). Urban NPS and municipal wastewater are also considered important sources. Recreation users and atmospheric inputs scored low (“low concern”). There was generally consistent agreement on sources when looking at the responses by UMRCC technical sections.
Question 3 – General water quality condition of the UMR. The overall response from the technical sections rated the overall quality as “fair” (56.6%) to “good” (33.3%). About 9% of the respondents rated the quality as “poor.” When breaking down the responses by federal or state agencies, there responses appeared to be generally similar.
Question 4 – Water Quality Trend. A large majority (64.3%) of the respondents from the technical sections believed the water quality is not showing any changes (“staying the same”). About 14% believed it was “getting worse” and 21% thought it was “getting better.” There again appeared to be no significant difference when evaluating this response from federal or state agencies.
Q1 - How would you rate the following list of pollutants in their influence on the water quality of
the Upper Mississippi River? Please rate from 0 (no opinion), or scale 1 (low) to 5 (high concern).
Note - Scores of zero not removed
Q2 - What do you believe are the primary sources of pollutants impacting the Upper Mississippi River?
Please rate from 0 (no opinion), or scale 1 (low) to 5 (high concern).
Note - Scores of zero not removed
Q3 - In your opinion, the water quality of the UMR is : pollutants impacting the Upper Mississippi River?
Poor ___ Fair ____ Good ____ Excellent ____
Q4 - In your opinion, the water quality of the UMR is:
Getting worse ____ Staying the Same ____ Getting Better ____