Volunteer water monitoring support through the uwsp center for watershed science and education
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Volunteer Water Monitoring Support through the UWSP Center for Watershed Science and Education. Nancy Turyk Citizen-Based Monitoring Conference August 2004. Agencies. Decision Makers. Researchers. Citizen Based Water Monitoring Programs at UWSP. Groundwater Lakes Rivers/Watersheds.

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Volunteer Water Monitoring Support through the UWSP Center for Watershed Science and Education

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Volunteer Water Monitoring Support through the UWSP Center for Watershed Science and Education

Nancy Turyk

Citizen-Based Monitoring Conference

August 2004


Decision Makers


Citizen Based Water Monitoring Programs at UWSP

  • Groundwater

  • Lakes

  • Rivers/Watersheds

Wisconsin Groundwater Facts

  • 70% of WI residents rely on groundwater.

  • Over 800,000 private wells in WI.

  • Typical private wells yield water a few years to a few decades old.

  • Municipal wells are required to have water tests, individual well testing is optional.

Groundwater Monitoring

  • Drinking water analyses

    • Basic package includes nitrate, pH, bacteria, hardness, alkalinity, chloride

    • Metals package

    • Pesticides

Groundwater Monitoring Options

  • Individual resident samples

    • Individuals submit samples

    • Interpretation guide provided with results

    • Assistance over telephone available

Groundwater Monitoring Options

  • Community drinking water programs

    • Provides a community/regional view of groundwater

    • Coordinated between local representative, WEAL Lab, and UWEX Groundwater Educator

    • Includes a community groundwater education program to better understand the analytical results

Community Drinking Water Programs

  • County, Township, Watershed, Lake Assoc.

  • Benefits

    • Determine safety of drinking water supply and learn about treatment methods

    • Increased understanding of groundwater and the connection to the landscape

    • Better indicator of community’s groundwater quality

    • People are informed on ways to protect water resources

Community Drinking Water Programs

Lake Monitoring

  • Determine current conditions and long-term trends

  • Individual residents/lake associations

  • As partners with CWSE in conjunction with lake assessments

Lake Monitoring – Overturn Program

  • Samples are collected when the lake is “mixed” (Spring and Fall Overturn)

  • Individuals collect samples from deep hole of lake

  • Samples are prepared according to instructions and shipped on ice to the lab

  • Samples are analyzed in the lab for nutrients, minerals, contaminants

  • Data are stored in a database and graphed twice/year

River/Watershed Monitoring

  • Monitoring rivers is MUCH trickier!

    • Moving water

    • Varying quantities of water

    • Water quality changes over a given storm

    • Affected by a variety of adjacent land uses

  • More rules/quality control/ quality assurance

    • Need to know the amount of water

    • Need to know the amount of precipitation

  • Sample collection is relatively easy – sampling design is not

River/Watershed Monitoring

  • CWSE monitoring builds on WAV monitoring

  • Lab data can help provide answers to observations made with WAV monitoring

  • Analyses include more than what could be measured with a field kit

  • Lab data are more accurate because of the methods of analysis and the quality control

  • CWSE can provide assistance with sampling design/site selection

River/Watershed Monitoring

  • Used to Assess

    • Current conditions

    • Long-term trends

    • Affects of particular land use activities

  • Who collects the samples?

    • Individuals/river groups

    • Agency staff

River Monitoring Program

  • Baseflow monitoring is recommended for measuring long-term trends

    • Rivers are at low flow so water quality can be easily compared over a long period of time

    • Standard package include suspended sediment, nutrients, and chloride

    • Additional analyses may include metals (urban) or pesticides (rural)

Quality Control/Assurance

  • Site Identification/documentation

  • Group training

  • Sample acquisition and handling

  • Documented methods

  • Data management

Sample Sites

  • Selection

    • Easy access

    • Identifiable

    • Well defined channel

  • Record location

    • Photograph

    • Maps

    • Physical and legal description

“Site 16 Hartman Creek. Rural Road about ½ mile NW of intersection of Rural Rd and Whispering Pines Rd. Sample above culvert. Town of Dayton”

T21N R11E Sec 5 (SW ¼ of NW ¼ of Sec 5)

Field Notes

  • Flow regime

    • Runoff (precipitation/snowmelt)

    • Baseflow

  • Ice on the river?

  • Dry for a month?

  • Staff gage and/or flow measurements

  • Measure precipitation


  • Collect samples using

    • grab method

    • siphon sampling device

  • Samples collected in acid washed containers


  • Sampling equipment rinsed with distilled water and triple rinsed with river water

  • Samples filtered and/or acidified as required for analysis

  • Sample bottles marked with proper site identification

  • Samples transported on ice to the lab

Flow Measurements

  • All individuals trained in the field

  • Staff gages

  • Flow meters

  • Level loggers

Custody Transfer to a Lab

Sharing the Results

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