Q6 Update – Spring Blitz and Happy Earth Day

Water SampleSpring is here!  Thank you so much to the 70+ volunteers who gathered for our Spring Lake Monroe Watershed Sampling Blitz on April 2!  The weather was chilly but we were grateful for the bright sunshine and enthusiastic citizen scientists.  Volunteers returned to the 125 sites that we sampled last fall in Monroe, Brown, and Jackson Counties and water was flowing in all of them, in contrast to our fall blitz.  We look forward to comparing the results.

Monthly sampling of the main tributaries to Lake Monroe (North Fork Salt Creek, Middle Fork Salt Creek, South Fork Salt Creek, and Crooked Creek) is also complete.  Our last water quality monitoring project will be to conduct environmental DNA (eDNA) analysis at ten locations to determine if the primary source of E. coli is humans or livestock.  This test detects genetic material (DNA) in the water samples and compares it to a database of DNA samples to find the matching source (human, cow, pig, horse, etc.).  Understanding the source of E. coli will help us build a more targeted action plan for addressing the problem.

This summer we will begin identifying potential projects to improve water quality in Lake Monroe.  Examples could include restoring riparian buffers (trees and shrubs planted on streambanks), fencing livestock out of streams, promoting improved septic system maintenance, stabilizing stream banks, encouraging the use of cover crops on farmland, or restoring wetland areas.

We are also slowly resuming in-person educational activities.  I had a lovely time presenting about watersheds at Earth Day in Southeast Park.  (Click here to watch the video on Facebook Live.)  Look for us this summer at the Monroe County and Brown County Fairs.  In the fall we will be hosting a watershed tour to showcase the size and diversity of our watershed.  And throughout the year I will be giving presentations to community groups like rotary clubs, environmental commissions, conservation clubs, and anyone else interested in learning about water quality.

If you have suggestions of events where we could set up an educational display or ideas for community groups that would like to hear a presentation about the Lake Monroe watershed management plan, please send me an e-mail at watershed@friendsoflakemonroe.org.  Thank you!

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