2014 Connecticut Volunteer Water Quality Monitoring Conference

Alexandra Fries ·
28 August 2014
Environmental Report Cards | Science Communication | 

In conjunction with our work on the Long Island Sound embayment report cards, I was invited to speak about report cards at the first annual Connecticut Volunteer Water Quality Monitoring Conference. The conference was held on July 25th, 2014 at Goodwin College. The organizers of the conference were Jacqueline Talbot with the Connecticut River Watershed Council and Meghan Ruta with the Connecticut Department of Energy and Environmental Protection (CT DEEP).

Jacqueline Talbot and Meghan Ruta talking about goals of the conference.
Jacqueline Talbot and Meghan Ruta talking about goals of the conference.

This conference was an opportunity for the many volunteer monitoring groups in Connecticut to meet up and discuss successes, challenges, and opportunities for collaboration in water quality monitoring. Over 40 groups doing monitoring were in attendance at the conference.

For my talk, I spoke about how to calculate water quality indicator scores for ecosystem health report cards. Specifically I explained how to take data collected by monitoring, develop an appropriate threshold for each indicator, and score the data to come up with an overall grade. The examples I used were the Old Woman Creek and Pipe Creek Report cards from Ohio, the Rookery Bay report card from Florida, and the Norwalk Harbor Report Card, a report card we have just started working on for the Norwalk Harbor and River in Connecticut.

The conference was held at Goodwin College, which is just south of Hartford, CT on the eastern bank of the Connecticut River.

Goodwin College
Goodwin College

Goodwin College Pier
Goodwin College Pier

Goodwin College has an extensive environmental studies program that involves students in doing experimental field research, field monitoring and sampling, and publication of results. Bruce Morton is the Program Director of Environmental Studies at Goodwin College, and he gave a very informative introduction to the conference as well as work the students are doing. Goodwin College also supports the Connecticut River Academy which is an early college high school on the college’s campus.

Bruce Morton speaking about Goodwin College and Environmental Studies.
Bruce Morton speaking about Goodwin College and Environmental Studies.

Land around the Connecticut River has been greatly developed over time and the large watershed covers four states. Over the past few decades, numerous amounts of restoration activities have been taken to improve the water quality of the river.

Looking south on the Connecticut River
Looking south on the Connecticut River

Natural shoreline on the Connecticut River
Natural shoreline on the Connecticut River

 

About the author

Alexandra Fries

Alexandra is a Program Manager at the Integration and Application Network (IAN) based at the University of Maryland Center for Environmental Science in Annapolis MD. Alexandra’s work in environmental management has been focused on assessment, monitoring, and management of aquatic, marine, and terrestrial ecosystems. Alexandra has extensive experience in data analysis, synthesis, mapping, interpretation, and communication. Alexandra has experience working with a diverse group of partners including those in local, state, and federal government, non-governmental organizations, non-profit organizations, private industry, and academia. Within IAN, Alexandra conducts data analysis, synthesis, and communication by completing environmental report cards, updating the IAN website, and conducting science communication courses. Alexandra also creates science communication materials such as diagrams, posters, presentations, newsletters, and reports using Adobe Creative Suite, Microsoft Office Suite, and ArcGIS. Alexandra has experience managing projects and staff on local and international projects, liaising directly with partners and colleagues, and providing insights on project direction and goals.



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