Fall 2020 Watershed Sampling Blitz – 4th Qtr Update

A huge thank you to the 70+ volunteers who gathered last Water Sample BlitzFriday (September 18, 2020) for our Lake Monroe Watershed Sampling Blitz!  Our citizen scientists ranged in age from under 10 to over 70.  This enthusiastic group enjoyed a beautiful day of visiting streams in Monroe, Brown, and Jackson Counties.

Of the 125 sites visited, 88 water samples were collected and 37 sites were noted as dry.  This was not unexpected as many of the smaller streams go dry in the summer and 2020 has been a particularly dry year.  It will be very interesting to see how things look when we return next spring during the wet season.

Q4 2020 update map

In addition to collecting water samples and conducting field measurements,Q4 Water Sample Blitz volunteers also conducted QHEI assessments.  The Qualitative Habitat Evaluation Index (QHEI) is a scoring system to allow a quick evaluation of how well a stream supports aquatic wildlife.  Are there slow moving pools and fast moving riffles to provide a variety of habitats?  Are there tree roots, rocks, deep pools, and logs to provide fish cover?  Does the stream have shade and stable banks?  A few volunteers even took photos of the turtles, fish, and crawdads they observed first hand.

Samples are currently being analyzed by the Indiana University Limnology Lab for E. coli, Total Suspended Solids, Total Nitrogen, Nitrate, Ammonia, Total Phosphorus, and Soluble Reactive Phosphorus.  These results will give us a better understanding of which areas in the watershed have higher concentrations of bacteria, sediments, and nutrients.

Thank you to our amazing Blitz coordinator Lynnette Murphy and to our generous staging location hosts – Boy Scouts of America Hoosier Trails Office in Bloomington, Brown County Inn in Nashville, Gatesville Country Store in Gatesville, Story Inn in Story, and the Pershing Township Fire Department in Freetown.  We greatly appreciate their support of our community effort and look forward to working with them again in the spring.  Hope to see you there too!

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