I am Donovan King, a biologist, and I joined the LoVoTECS team as a field technician a few months ago after finishing my MS with Plymouth State University.
We have some exciting new work emerging for our LoVoTECS network.
We are currently in the process of moving our research upstream. We will continue to analyze the valuable data we obtained from all of your sites, but we are shifting our focus to the White Mountain tributaries. We will be further exploring the intrusion of road salt into streams at road crossings beginning this 2015/16 winter.
The Cary Institute notes that New Hampshire was the pioneer of using salt to deice our roadways, beginning our first experimental treatments in 1938. The ingenuity has made our highways safer and undoubtedly saved countless lives, but not without environmental consequences. Excess salt poses a risk to our stream ecosystems and contaminates the ground water feeding municipal drinking wells and reservoirs. Today, in the White Mountain region alone, we apply some 25 thousand tons of salt each year to maintain driving conditions on state roads and, likely in response to changing weather patterns, our annual road salt use has been increasing. Local roads and private landholders contribute even more, though the exact amounts are hard to ascertain.
Understanding how the direct input of salt from the road and the legacy salt of previous seasons leeching from soils and ground water interact is crucial to informed policy making. Our new research will attempt to isolate background ions – resulting from natural weathering - from the contribution of ions from deicing salts and pair this information with stream flow rates. To do this, we are installing standardized road salt monitoring sites with paired upstream and downstream sensors placed at prescribed distances from the road (see figure below). We hope to have all sites installed and collecting data prior to the 2015/2016 ice over.
In the Squam Lakes region, we are pairing our research with that of two new graduate students:
Rebecca Hanson is with the Squam Lakes Association. They have been monitoring water quality in the Squam Lake since 1979. She hopes to expand monitoring to our tributaries and examine modern threats to water quality, such as impacts from road salt application. This will better help the SLA to achieve their mission to protect the Squam Lakes and Watershed. Information gathered from this study will help to inform the updated Squam Watershed Plan, and enable them to not just monitor the lakes, but to take action in restoration and protection.
Anju Shrestha is researching a proof of concept to monitor phosphorous input into the lake. She will attempt to pair specific conductivity to phosphorous loading in the streams. If successful, this could improve the usefulness of our data collection methods.
We will be installing at least two of our standardized road salt monitoring sites on Squam Lake tributaries (see map below). Salt use along the northern watershed of Squam Lake, Rt. 113, has been increasing since 1997. Then, an average of 6.98 tons of salt per lane mile was applied. In 2015, the average salt per lane mile has more than doubled to 15.96 tons.
Map of Squam Lakes Sites
In contrast, the Tenney Mountain Hwy (Rt. 25) has seen a sporadic history of annual salt application from as little as 15 to as much as 30 tons per lane mile, with no noticeable change over the last 18 years. Here, we have installed a standardized monitoring site in Clay Brook.
The west end of the Kancamagus (Rt. 112) will also receive several standardized monitoring sites, though the exact locations are still being explored. We hope in the coming weeks to have chosen some informative locations so we can begin to collect data. The Kancamagus is exciting because road salt use is on the decline for NH’s famous roadway; from >20 tons per lane mile in the late 90s and peaking at 43 in 2003, application rates have been down to the teens for the last three years.
Friday, May 8, 2015
Tuesday, December 2, 2014
Last year, Plymouth State University was the partial recipient of a grant from the National Science Foundation to integrate research across state lines. As a result, LoVoTECS expanded its network into coastal Maine in order to investigate water quality related to closure of beaches and shellfish flats (http://www.newenglandsustainabilityconsortium.org/safe-beaches-shellfish). We are excited to welcome our new partners, who include: the Hancock & Cumberland County Soil and Water Conservation Districts, City of Ellsworth, Kennebec Esutary Land Trust, UMaine Cooperative Extension/Tanglewood 4-H Camp, Coastal Studies for Girls and the Town of Hampton!
Below is a list of the new sites installed this field season:
1. Mousam River, Kennebunk, ME (MSM)
2. Card Brook, Ellsworth, ME (CAR)
3. McFarland Brook, Trenton, ME (MCF)
4. Flood Steam, Surry, ME (FLD)
5. Peters Brook, E. Blue Hill, ME (PET)
6. Long Creek, Portland, ME (2 sites: S18, S19)
7. Concord Gully, Freeport, ME (CGB)
8. Merrymeeting Bay/Chopps Point, Woolwich , ME (CHP)
9. Ducktrap River, Lincolnville, ME (DUK)
10. Taylor River, Hampton, NH (TAY)
Our data will help provide information for other interests besides beach and shellfish closures- Check out the restoration project at Long Creek site: http://www.restorelongcreek.org/
My name is Dan Demers and I’m an Environmental Science and Policy graduate assistant at Plymouth State University working with data from the LoVoTECS Network.
Prior to joining the program, I graduated from Westfield State University in 2011 with a Bachelor’s of Science in Environmental Science and worked in a semi-volatile organic compound laboratory in Western Massachusetts.
Currently, I am looking at the characteristics of specific electrical conductance (SpEC) at certain LoVoTECS sensor sites. SpEC is electrical conductance (which is measured by the black, HOBO U24 sensors) after it has been corrected for the temperature of the water. It is a measure of how well water conducts electricity, increasing with the addition of dissolved solids. Pure, deionized water does not conduct electricity at all, so this measurement can help us learn about the presence and movement of ions within our streams.
Here in New Hampshire, road salt is one of the key factors that increases the SpEC of water, but it isn’t the only material that does this, as you can see from the 2013 and 2014 snapshot results (link coming soon). If the SpEC conductance of water becomes too high, it can affect organisms living in the stream.
Usually when a storm occurs, the SpEC in a stream dilutes with the addition of the new rain-water. However, during the beginning of some storm events, at some sensor sites, the SpEC will briefly increase before diluting. This increase, caused by a flushing of solutes into the stream (known as first flush), can be quite large in some instances, even reaching levels which can have an acute effect on lotic organisms.
I’m specifically looking at sensor sites in the network that exhibit this first flush behavior in order to analyze how the events are affected by seasonality, storm intensity, and the environmental conditions since a previous storm. Essentially this means that I’m studying how time affects the ways in which solute flushing events occur and behave.
Going forward, I hope to be able to accurately predict the presence, duration, and magnitude of solute flushing at certain sites. This knowledge will increase understanding of how water and solutes are transported within our local environment and will be able to indicate which environmental conditions might lead to SpEC-related problems for some lotic organisms’ well-being.
Monday, October 13, 2014
Below is a time series from October 2013 showing water stage and specific electrical conductance at the three sites, highlighting three storms. The first is on Oct 4, which barely impacts the upstream site, has a clear signal in the storm drain, and that signal is also strong downstream of town. The rapid increase in stage and decrease in specific electrical conductance (SpEC) are typical storm responses within the LoVoTECS network. Groundwater is generally saltier than rain - thus the higher SpEC at low flows - and so direct runoff of rain dilutes a stream. But, the upstream site does not show a substantial stage or SpEC change after the Oct 4 event, which was about 0.5 inches of rain according to area CoCoRaHS observers. The two next waves of rain on Oct 6 and 8, were generally smaller than the Oct 4 amount, but the storm drain reacts strongly and so does the BBD downstream site. The upstream site shows some response to the Oct 6 and 8 rain, but much less than the other sites.
This clear impact of urban drainage on direct runoff to streams is novel. Because urban areas are so small relative to other land covers in a watershed, it is difficult to detect the hydrologic impact of urbanization in watersheds (see Hollis' critical view and O'Driscoll's recent review). Our partners and their sensors are seeing the impact.
Posted by Mark Green at 7:55 AM
Thursday, September 11, 2014
|SITE||System||Time of Sampling||pH||Sp Cond (us/cm)||Turbidity (NTU)|
|BLD||Back Lake Brook||7:15||7.58||73.07||3.54|
|BLU||Back Lake Brook||7:00||7.18||67.7||4.57|
|NED||Contocook||11:10 - 11:30||7.51||95.21||0.818|
|OGS||Oyster River at USGS||10:52||7.11||175.7||9.95|
|OMP||Oyster River at Mill Pond Dam||11:43||7.68||296.1||2.94|
|PBB||Pine Bend Brook||10:45||6.89||20.43||0.252|
|RHL||Red Hill River||7:44||7.22||63.26||0.605|
|SCD||Dead Dimond River||8:00||7.08||42.36||1.16|
|SCS||Swift Diamond River||8:30||7.26||32.97||1|
|SQB||Unnamed Belnap Woods||9:50||7.28||118.2||0.635|
|SRN||Sugar River North||2:11||7.25||120.8||1.73|
|SRS||Sugar River South||2:36||7.14||98.18||3.55|
|SWP||Storm Drain (Highland St)||9:21||7.81||1428||3.48|
|TPB||Trout Pond Brook||8:30||6.57||19.34||0.736|
|WHB||Wednesday Hill Brook||7:30||7.93||369.1||4.67|
Wednesday, August 6, 2014
Hi Everyone! Thank you so much for making the July snapshot possible! Here are some Preliminary Snapshot Data from 7/30/14. Additional nutrient data to come!
|SITE||System||DATE||Time of Sampling||Weather||pH||Sp Cond (us/cm)||Turbidity (NTU)|
|ARD||Androscoggin||7/30/2014||12:30||Cloudy, ~60, recent rain||6.99||31.29||1.25|
|ARU||Androscoggin||7/30/2014||12:08||Cloudy, ~60, recent rain||6.81||29.93||1.22|
|BAT||Borthwick Ave||7/30/2014||8:45||Clear, cool||8.16||1590||8.41|
|BBD||Beaver Brook||7/30/2014||12:05||Clear, 70s||7.25||144.1||1.39|
|BBK||Bogle Brook||7/30/2014||not sampled|
|BBU||Beaver Brook||7/30/2014||11:15:00||Clear, 70s||6.75||69.15||0.988|
|BBW||Beaver Brook||7/30/2014||10:00||Sunny, 70s||6.99||106.4||1.16|
|BDC||Burley Demerrit||7/30/2014||7:00||60-70s, cloudy||8.09||271||1.55|
|BDD||Blood Brook||7/30/2014||not sampled|
|BDU||Blood Brook||7/30/2014||not sampled|
|BEC||Beards Creek||7/30/2014||10:30||Cloudy, Mid-70s||8.09||381.2||6.06|
|BLD||Back Lake Brook||7/30/2014||7:40||Cool, no rain||7.43||67.75||1.58|
|BLU||Back Lake Brook||7/30/2014||7:25||Cool, no rain||7.23||60.79||1.45|
|BRD||Bellamy River||7/30/2014||not sampled|
|BRU||Bellamy River||7/30/2014||not sampled|
|BSW||Beaver Brook||7/30/2014||10:30||Sunny, 70s||7.24||1174||0.425|
|CBT||Clay Brook||7/30/2014||10:51||Overcast, cool||6.57||39.27||2.33|
|CBU||Clay Brook||7/30/2014||10:31||Overcast, cool||6.5||25.74||0.657|
|CCK||Cart Creek||7/30/2014||10:15||Partly cloudy, 75||7.76||457.4||8.02|
|CHB||Chesley Brook||7/30/2014||9:40||Cloudy, Mid 60s||7.88||251.9||2.02|
|COB||College Brook||7/30/2014||9:55||Cloudy, Mid 60s||8.21||1338||2.62|
|CSP||Cedar Swamp||7/30/2014||8:30||Partly cloudy, ~75||6.69||233.8||1.4|
|CTC||Connecticut||7/30/2014||8:21||Foggy/ overcast, ~50||7.08||36.12||4.46|
|CTP||Connecticut River||7/30/2014||6:45||Foggy, ~50||7.08||32.16||0.922|
|DBB||Dube Brook||7/30/2014||9:05||Cloudy, Mid 60s||7.87||137.1||8.8|
|DCF||Dowst-Cate||7/30/2014||9:45||Cloudy, Mid 60s||6.71||47.89||0.839|
|DGB||Douglas Brook||7/30/2014||13:30||Partly cloudy, 60s, rain last 3 days||6.76||23.78||0.723|
|ELL||Ellis River||7/30/2014||14:07||Partly cloudy, 60s||6.51||36.15||0.153|
|EXT||Exeter River||7/30/2014||11:45||Partly cloudy||7.68||224.6||1.27|
|HCA||Hosley Brook||7/30/2014||11:00||Cloudy, 70||6.43||17.57||1.25|
|HCB||Hosley Brook||7/30/2014||11:50||Cloudy, 70||5.88||30.32||1.06|
|HCD||Hosley Brook||7/30/2014||11:45||Cloudy, 70||6.82||32.75||1.01|
|HCE||Hosley Brook||7/30/2014||11:20||Cloudy, 70||6.25||19.4||0.405|
|HCF||Hosley Brook||7/30/2014||12:00||Cloudy, 70||6.78||31.05||0.892|
|HCG||Hosley Brook||7/30/2014||1:00||Cloudy, 70||6.78||33.04||1.06|
|HCH||Hosley Brook||7/30/2014||12:50||Cloudy, 70||6.71||33.7||1.28|
|HCI||Hosley Brook||7/30/2014||12:30||Cloudy, 70||6||33.23||1.82|
|HCJ||Hosley Brook||7/30/2014||1:15||Cloudy, 70||6.66||29.9||0.832|
|HOB||Hodgson Brook||7/30/2014||9:30||Clear, cool||8.13||851.2||1.24|
|HYB||Halfway Brook||7/30/2014||9:30||Mostly cloudy||7.24||81.57||0.874|
|IDM||Ispwich Dam||7/30/2014||9:30||Partly cloudy, ~75||7.92||388.3||1.95|
|IRD||Israel River||7/30/2014||9:05 to 9:07||Cloudy, 55-58||6.73||42.29||0.971|
|IRU||Israel River||7/30/2014||10:46 to 10:51||Cloudy, 55-58||6.66||23.19||0.359|
|MCQ||McQuesten Brook||7/30/2014||10:45||Cloudy, 60 to 70||7.87||694.5||1.6|
|MMR||Merrymeeting River||7/30/2014||9:05 to 9:17||Overcast, 68||7.16||75.29||1.21|
|MUM||Merrimack River||7/30/2014||7:25||Overcast, 63||7.02||77.29||6.49|
|NSB||Salmon Brook||7/30/2014||9:30||Mostly cloudy||7.77||442.5||2.18|
|NWD||Newfields Ditch||7/30/2014||9:04||Clear, cool||8.18||996.2||2.55|
|OBG||Otter Brook||7/30/2014||not sampled|
|OGS||Oyster River at USGS||7/30/2014||9:25||Cloudy, Mid 60s||7.78||264.7||7.34|
|OMP||Oyster River at Mill Pond Dam||7/30/2014||10:50||Cloudy, Mid 60s||7.82||285.2||5.85|
|OSS||Ossipee River||7/30/2014||10:35||Mostly cloudy, ~71, 2.5" rain last 3 days||6.81||46.75||0.649|
|PBB||Pine Bend Brook||7/30/2014||11:15||Partly cloudy, rain last 3 days, 60||6.72||16.85||0.146|
|PDM||Parker Dam||7/30/2014||10:40||Partly cloudy, ~75||7.94||377.1||4.24|
|PEB||Pettee Brook||7/30/2014||10:10||Cloudy, mid 60s||8.18||1029||2.41|
|PIN||Pine River||7/30/2014||10:10||Mostly cloudy, ~71, 2.5" rain last 3 days||6.55||47.03||0.895|
|RBH||Rand Brook||7/30/2014||10:48||Partly sunny, ~68||7.18||67.26||1.19|
|RHL||Red Hill River||7/30/2014||10:00||Mostly cloudy||7.23||68.7||0.706|
|SBK||Sawmill Brook||7/30/2014||7:40||Partly cloudy, ~ 75||7.15||1078||3.73|
|SBM||Saddleback||7/30/2014||9:30||Cloudy, 60 to 70||5.1||29.91||0.909|
|SCD||Dead Dimond River||7/30/2014||10:05||Mostly cloudy, ~50||6.73||25.71||1.53|
|SCS||Swift Diamond River||7/30/2014||10:25||Mostly cloudy, ~50||6.89||24.31||2.06|
|SHB||Schoolhouse Brook||7/30/2014||11:25||Partly Cloudy, ~68||7.05||32.95||0.276|
|SQB||Unnamed Belnap Woods||7/30/2014||9:50||Overcast, 70s, heavy rain last 2 days||7.28||97.9||0.95|
|SQM||Mill Brook||7/30/2014||10:10||Overcast, 70s, heavy rain last 2 days||7.1||50.28||0.562|
|SQR||Squamscott River||7/30/2014||12:04 to 12:10||Sunny/ overcast||7.85||5.5||8.54|
|SRM||Swift River||7/30/2014||13:45||Partly cloudy, ~60, Rain last 3 days||6.2||21.89||0.312|
|SRU||Swift Upper||7/30/2014||9:30||Partly cloudy, 60, last 3 days||6.04||33.88||0.276|
|SRN||Sugar River North||7/30/2014||8:35||Cloudy, cool||7.18||76.59||3.32|
|SRS||Sugar River South||7/30/2014||9:00||Cloudy, cool||7.08||83.98||2|
|SWP||Storm Drain (Highland St)||7/30/2014||11:20||Cloudy||8.07||1884||0.395|
|TPB||Trout Pond Brook||7/30/2014||8:30||Cloudy, 60 to 70||6.65||18.95||0.748|
|WBG||Whittle Brook||7/30/2014||9:31||Partly cloudy||7.34||109.4||0.311|
|WHB||Wednesday Hill Brook||7/30/2014||7:30||Cloudy, 60 to 70||7.14||364||2.01|