Annual Water Quality Sampler Training a Great Success!

The 2017 TRWA Annual Water Quality Training on Saturday 25, 2017 was a great success! Almost all veteran samplers are staying with the program in 2017 and we enlisted many new enthusiastic volunteers. The program has almost 30 volunteers to cover our existing 19 watershed sampling locations giving us the security of having multiple samplers supporting each location. In addition if TRWA fund raising or grant solicitation is successful we have enough volunteers to add some additional sampling locations.

Our trained volunteers are the Guardians of the Taunton River Watershed knowledgeable about how waters are sampled, our month to month sampling results, what the results mean, the challenges facing the river, and what can be done to improve water quality. They not only take monthly samples the second Tuesday of each month for chemical analysis but are always on alert to take photographs of water quality problems such as algae blooms, excess rooted aquatic plant growth, and extremely depleted tributary and river flows.

Anyone can help by emailing photographs of water quality problems to TRWA at: Director@savethetaunton.org. If sending photos please indicate in your cover email the location, date, and time the photo was taken. You can learn about water quality issues in the watershed, see our 2016 monitoring results and water quality report cards at the Water Quality Monitoring tab on the TRWA website home page.

         

2016 Water Quality Report Card Issued

TRWA issued its 2016 Water Quality Report Card. TRWA monitors 19 locations along the Taunton River and its tributaries. A major concern for the watershed is nutrient pollution from nitrogen. Nitrogen levels in the main stem are often 2-5 times recommended levels and much higher in tributary streams. High nutrient levels fuel algae and rooted aquatic plant blooms limiting biodiversity in the watershed. Currently about 66% of the nitrogen load comes from wastewater treatment plants which are being required to upgrade to remove excessive nitrogen loads from their discharges over the next five years.

Join Us February 25th at 9:45 a.m. to Noon for Annual Water Quality Monitor Training

Algae bloom on the Town River in Bridgewater

Become a “Guardian of the Taunton River Watershed“.  Join us Saturday, February 25, 2017, 9:45 a.m. to 12 noon for our volunteer monitor training.  (In case of inclement weather, the make-up date will be: Saturday, March 4, 2017, 9:45 a.m. to 12 noon.)  Learn how waters are sampled, what the results mean, the challenges facing the river, and how water quality can be improved.

We are seeking additional volunteers to assist in expanding the water quality monitoring program in the Taunton River and its major tributaries.  The training will be held in the Visitors’ Center at the Gertrude M. Boyden Wildlife Refuge, 1298 Cohannet Street, Taunton.  Admission is free of charge.  Coffee and doughnuts will be served.

Volunteers who sampled sites in previous years must attend this training session for an update on the latest sampling procedures.  To give new volunteers additional training in the field, we will be matching newcomers with experienced monitors as we assign team members to specific sites.  

The session will be conducted by Steve Silva and Alex Houtzager, Coordinators of TRWA’s Sampling Program.  No prior technical experience is necessary what we do is important but not difficult.  This is a great opportunity to learn techniques of testing pollutant levels in our waterways and to enjoy dawn with the inhabitants of our rivers and streams.

Sampling at stream sites is done from March to November, depending on the weather, on the 2nd Tuesday morning of each month.  Samples are taken to the Taunton Wastewater Treatment Plant for analysis.  During the training session, we will verify the sampling sites to be used for testing. 

You must be willing to commit about two hours each month to do this testing; however, we hope to have sufficient members on each sampling location team to provide back-up coverage for vacations, illness or other times.  On sampling days, we collect samples from designated sites between 6:00 and 8:00 a.m. so that the water samples may be delivered to the laboratory at the Taunton Wastewater Treatment Plant by 8:30 a.m.

Your participation will bolster TRWA’s efforts to track water quality at selected sites along the Taunton River and several tributaries.  This monitoring program provides important information on the health of the watershed which has informed regulatory activities.  Most of all, we want people to be safe, have fun, and learn by participating.  For more information go to the TRWA website home page http://savethetaunton.org/ and click on the Water Quality Monitoring Tab.

To register for the training session, e-mail us: Director@savethetaunton.org

Or call the TRWA office at 508-828-1101 for more information.  (If you reach   
our voice-mail, please leave a message and we will get back to you.)

Taunton River Watershed Alliance 

1298 Cohannet Street

Taunton MA   02780

508-828-1101

www.savethetaunton.org

TRWA Annual Meeting on November 5th

On November 5th we celebrated our 2016 accomplishments at the TRWA Annual Meeting!  Joseph Callahan TRWA president thanked the many members present and gave a brief synopsis of 2016 highlights.  Joe was pleased to extend a warm welcome to our special guests Mayor Thomas Hoye, and the student from Friedman Middle School in Taunton who received a Special Achievement Award.

The membership unanimously approved the proposed slate or TRWA Director nominees and we welcomed Rachel Thibeault of Brockton as out newest Director.  Jen O’Keefe long time TRWA Calendar coordinator volunteer introduced the 2017 TRWA Tide Calendar, and the winners of this years photography contest.  We are always very proud of this useful popular calendar, see our website for information on how to order your 2017 calendar or call our office to see if we still have copies for pick up!

Steve Silva thanked the monitoring volunteers and described the very high level of volunteer support in 2016 which produced our most complete data set in years.  Steve presented a brief PowerPoint presentation (also available on the Monitoring Tab of our website if you click the sample bottles picture) summarizing the extremely high levels of in-stream nitrogen measured; sadly many times over what any reasonable target (sometimes called a water quality criterion) might be for a river that flows to an estuary.  The hope is wastewater treatment plant upgrades currently in the works and better application of nitrogen fertilizers will bring nitrogen in the estuary down to environmentally protective levels in 4 to 6 years.

The featured presentation was the report by Patty Levasseur, the Biologist in charge of the TRWA supported monitoring of “Turtles in Assonet Bay”.  We learned a great deal from this study including where and when to sample and optimum collection techniques.  This information will be invaluable for conduct of a follow-up study in 2017.  The goal of the project is to determine to what extent these turtles are endangered and if they are threatened what measures can help them.

After the meeting members had fun touring the Bristol County Agricultural High School’s fascinating museum and biology exhibits.