July 13, 2009

Water quality monitoring with the Chester River Association

Last Wednesday, IAN went out with the Chester River Association on one of their weekly water quality monitoring trips on the Chester River.

You know what they say – a bad day in the field is better than a good day in the office. And this was a great day in the field!

Chester River

The Chester River Association measures a suite of water quality parameters (dissolved oxygen, salinity, temperature, etc.) at a range of sites both upstream and downstream from Chestertown. These data are reported as the Chester River report card, a scientifically rigorous assessment of the health of the Chester River and its tributaries.

Tom Leigh, the Chester Riverkeeper, measured Secchi disk depth (an indicator of water clarity) and drove the boat, while Brent Walls, the Watershed Coordinator/Scientist, took the other measurements using a standard water quality probe.

Water quality monitoring

Water quality monitoring

Water quality monitoring

Despite the wet spring this year, the Chester River seems to be holding steady in terms of water quality.

Along the way, we saw this property along the river which I think has the largest amount of riprap I’ve ever seen!

Riprap on the Chester River

Riprap reduces the amount of habitat available for plants and animals that need natural shorelines (such as the diamondback terrapin), and often enhances erosion problems.

A sustainable alternative to riprap is to install ‘living shorelines.’ Living shorelines protect against erosion while providing a natural habitat for animals and plants.

Here’s a living shoreline under construction in Langford Creek on the Chester River:

Living shoreline

All in all, a wonderful (and enlightening) day out on the water. Thanks to Tom and Brent for letting me tag along!

Osprey and nest


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About the author
Jane Thomas is a Science Communicator at the Integration and Application Network. Jane has a Bachelor of Science with 1st Class Honors in Ecology/Marine Biology/Botany.
Website: http://ian.umces.edu/people/Jane_Thomas/
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