Thursday, August 14, 2014

StreamWatch

The creek in the county park downstream of my preserve
Our land trust is partnering with the watershed association that champions the environmental quality of the stream that drains the land to our southwest.  Last evening, our two organizations convened a joint training session for prospective stream monitoring volunteers at the county park downstream of my preserve.
Classroom training
About 20 people showed up for the training, which began with a PowerPoint introduction to the monitoring protocol.
Choosing a monitoring site
Then the volunteers split up between the two watersheds to choose their monitoring sites.
Creekside fieldwork.  The prominent outcrop in the background is called Council Rock.
Finally, we moved to the bank of the creek to apply the concepts introduced in the PowerPoint presentation to the "real world."  By then, the sun had started to set.

The volunteers were asked to pledge to monitor their section of the creek once a month - a two-hour commitment.  Everyone who attended was enthusiastic and seemed willing to commit more than two hours each month.
A riffle at sunset

8 comments:

packrat said...

What a fascinating idea, Scott. Just what is the "monitoring protocol"?

I wonder if your "Council Rock" had the same function as the famous one in my hometown. I hope you don't mind me posting a URL that will lead you to an article about it.

http://riversidecemeteryjournal.com/Places/Places/page9.html

robin andrea said...

Really a good sign to have so many people show up to be volunteers. It'll be good to have all those eyes on the waterways.

Scott said...

Packrat: Because we're actually working cooperatively with four other local watershed organizations (but most closely with our sister organization immediately adjacent to the southwest), we've all got to be "on the same page" with regard to the information we are collecting in order to make our results regionally comparable. So, the volunteers with be conducting visual assessments of the stream (not sampling water or aquatic invertebrates, which our professional staff members are doing in a few locations). The volunteers have a sheet that asks them to report on characteristics like water clarity and color, presence/absence of algae, shade cover from riparian vegetation, odor, velocity, etc.

Our council rock is much larger than the one in Youngstown (as you saw), and hasn't been rent by a lightning bolt (or any other force of nature), but was basically used for the same purpose as described in the article to which you referred. There must be lots of council rocks around; there's a school district in this area called Council Rock, but it's nowhere near the council rock that I photographed.

By the way, the Youngstown council rock looks to me like a glacial erratic, and the split probably is a result of winter freeze/thaw fracturing, not a lightning bolt--though the lightning bolt story is far more exciting. Was the Youngstown area glaciated? I'll bet the rock is located right on the edge of the continental glacial advance if the area was glaciated.

Scott said...

Robin Andrea: You can't have too many people watching out for aquatic mayhem in an urbanized watershed like ours.

packrat said...

Thanks for the interesting information on the monitoring protocol, Scott. As Robin Andrea pointed out it's good that so many volunteers showed up.

Yes, Youngstown is in the section of northern Ohio that experienced glaciation, and, as you have rightly noted, was on the receding edge of the last glacial advance.

Mark P said...

The kind of monitoring the volunteers will be doing actually sounds like a pleasant way to spend time outside anyway. It was nice to see some youngsters, too.

Scott said...

Packrat: I've got a beautiful book about "natural" Ohio full of color pictures and maps compiled by the Ohio Natural History Survey. It includes maps of the extent of the glacial advances, but I didn't have access to the book when I wrote my response to your comment. Thanks!

Scott said...

You're right, Mark: several of the volunteers, upon learning what we wanted them to do in terms of monitoring, said, "This will give me time to spend outside with my family." In addition, several volunteers elected to monitor more then one site because the commitment was not going to be physically demanding. I hope they still feel this way in the winter (but they can choose to monitor on a mild day in the winter).