River Monitoring Data Assured “High Quality” in New Report

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SYRCL staff have issued a new report evaluating and summarizing data collected by volunteer River Monitors in 2012.  The 2012 Data Summary and Quality Assurance Report concludes that the data collected by citizens is generally of high quality and in compliance with state standards for quality assurance.  The report also analyzes the data with regard to water quality issues found at 38 sites monitored throughout the Yuba River watershed.

Scientifically rigorous data collected by dedicated volunteers (Dan Chaplin pictured here) help us identify water quality issues and assess the health of our creeks and rivers.

The report analyses data on water temperature, dissolved oxygen, pH, conductivity, and turbidity. Water quality objectives set by the Central Valley Regional Water Quality Control Board are used to as criteria for identifying problems.  Water temperatures below 20°C, dissolved oxygen levels above 7 mg/L, and pH values between 6.5 and 8.5 units protect aquatic life in our waterways.  Collecting three measurements for each parameter at site visits allowed us to evaluate our results against data quality standards expected in the state-approved monitoring plan.  These efforts help us maintain scientifically rigorous data that can then be used by other organizations and government entities.

What does the data tell us about water quality conditions in 2012?  There were 87 instances (10.64% of all data) where measured conditions did not meet water quality objectives:  43 cases of water temperature above 20°C, 25 issues of low dissolved oxygen levels, and 19 problems with pH too low or too high to support sensitive aquatic life.  This is a much higher occurrence of problems than we observed in the 2011 data, when only 31 problems (or 3.97% of all data) were recorded.  Many of these cases where measurements exceeded water quality criteria can be explained by higher air temperatures, lower precipitation and stream flows that occurred in 2012.

The report also reveals that River Monitors collected strong and credible data with only 8.54% of all data not meeting data quality standards or monitoring protocol established in the monitoring plan.  SYRCL is grateful to Eric Rubenstahl (the 2012 River Monitoring Coordinator), Terry Armstrong (data entry and quality control specialist), and all of the diligent River Monitors for keeping the program credible and yielding useful information.

You can read the technical report for more information, or view the updates to the Yuba River Watershed Information System (www.yubashed.org) where charts and data files for all River Monitoring data are provided.  Over the next several weeks, SYRCL staff will be finalizing the user-friendly presentations at Yuba Shed.

The River Monitoring Program returns March 9th with our first sampling day (the 2013 monitoring dates are listed below).  This internationally recognized citizen-science program now has the capacity to quantify potential hazards in the watershed such as water quality impacts from proposed mine re-openings or chloride runoff from ice control on the Interstate 80 corridor.  Contact Marianne Pott today, the River Monitoring Coordinator, to join the 13th SYRCL River Monitoring team.  New river monitors will be required to attend a 2-part training (details below).  Other volunteer roles available include equipment maintenance, bagging, office positions, and cleanup.

We look forward to a stellar River Monitoring season!

2013 River Monitoring Dates:

March 9, 2013

April 13, 2013

May 11, 2013

June 8, 2013

July 13, 2013

August 10, 2013

September 7, 2013

October 12, 2013

November 9, 2013

Required 2-Part Training for New River Monitors:

April 11, 2013 6:30 – 8:30 orientation

April 20, 2013 9:30 – 2:30 field training

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