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Sampling Snapshot

Posted in: Spotlight- Jul 28, 2016 No Comments

On Saturday July 23, 2016, the James River Basin Partnership sponsored the second James River watershed “Sampling Snapshot” event, a continuance of the first “Sampling Snapshot” event coordinated by Loring Bullard in 2013. This past Saturday, 30 volunteers were out in the heat, weeds and chiggers sampling 71 water sites throughout the James River watershed; 22 sites along the James River, 14 sites on the Finley River, 5 sites on Wilsons Creek, 4 sites on Crane Creek, 2 sites on Pearson Creek, 7 smaller tributary streams, and 17 springs.

This watershed “Sampling Snapshot” event involved chemical and bacteriological sampling at sites spread all across the James River watershed, from its headwaters in Webster County to its mouth at Table Rock Lake in Stone County. All of the samples were collected within a very short time period. By collecting the samples all at once, other factors such as seasonal changes or variations in water quality due to changing flow conditions, are minimized. Conditions at all sites should be similar, which makes it easier to detect changes in water quality in different parts of our watershed that could be related to both point (e.g., wastewater treatment plants) and non-point (e.g., septic tanks, fertilizer runoff) sources of pollution.

Data from this event will be compared with “Sampling Snapshot” event data conducted in July 2013, three years prior. This ongoing comparison will set benchmark data for continued research, study, and action.

Five tests on samples will be ran in order to assess spatial trends in water quality across the James River watershed and analyzed at the Southwest Cleanwater Treatment Plant lab.  Parameters tested:

1) water temperatures
2) nutrient analyses (total phosphorus and total nitrogen)
3) bacteriological analyses (E coli)
4) chlorides
5) pH