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Water Quality Update – June 2016

-Article by Brenda Fekete with photographs by Logan Parker

Wow! Is it nearly July already? The early and unusually warm spring sent us out sampling in early April and we have been out weekly on all seven lakes ever since. It is so great to back out on the water with the Water Quality Initiative team!

This year’s team includes six Colby students. We are pleased to have three students returning from last year’s efforts, and welcome three new students to the crew. We have been busy with boat, laboratory and sampling training and are ready for our busy summer schedule. Please stop us when you see us on the water. We would love to introduce ourselves!

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Brenda Fekete taking an In-Situ water profile in the upper basin of Long Pond

We are often out on the water by 8 am. As completed during the 2015 season, we plan to continue our weekly secchi measurements, In-Situ water profiles to include temperature, dissolved oxygen and pH analysis, and surface water samples for plankton analysis on all seven lakes. Grab samples for nutrient and elemental analysis will be taken every two meters on a biweekly basis. We completed some early spring sediment sampling and plan to get another round of sediment samples in the fall.

In the afternoons we are in the Colby College labs completing our phosphate, nitrogen and metal analysis of the water samples and looking at the zooplankton and phytoplankton using the FlowCam that is housed at the MLRC. Come by the MLRC lab and see the awesome plankton pictures! And while you are here, please visit our mudpuppies and native fish tanks that Logan has on display.

Goldie was deployed on April 16 and started collecting data on April 17th. Real time data is displayed and explained on the Goldie website.

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Pete Kallin with one of the new buoys.

One of our early spring projects was to place a Water Quality Test Site buoy at each of the DEP sampling sites on all seven lakes. These buoys required a state permit and were purchased by each of the lake associations. Placed at the deepest parts of the lakes, these buoys will allow our teams to sample at the exact same site every time on every lake. Such will result in more consistent data collected from the deepest holes of the lake, thus increasing the accuracy of our results.   We plan to attach HOBO temperature and fluorescence sensors to each of the buoys in the near future. I would like to give a shout out to Pete Kallin who worked hard to get the permits for the buoys and for overseeing their safe arrival to the MLRC. Thank you to all of the lake associations for agreeing to have these buoys on their lakes and for helping to fund the effort. If you want to know where the deepest part of your lake is … come visit the WQ buoy. However, when visiting, please do not attach your boat to the buoys. Pulling on the buoys will cause the buoys to move from their desired DEP locations.

 

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Acoustic Doppler Current Profilers (ADCP) in the Serpentine Stream

We (in collaboration with the BRCA and DEP) have also deployed an Acoustic Doppler Current Profiler (ADCP) and several pressure transducers to study the changes in depth and current direction and velocity in the East Pond Serpentine. An ADCP will measure water current velocities over a depth range using the Doppler effect of sound waves scattered back from particles within the water column. This information will allow us to study the movement of water between North Pond and East Pond. Grab samples for nutrient and elemental analysis will augment the data profiles.

I would like to thank L.L. Bean for their recent donations of two shorty wetsuits that make our spring and fall water adventures so much more enjoyable!

I would like to, again, thank all of our wonderful volunteers that escorted our students to the sampling sites last season. The students truly enjoy your company and appreciate your help in the sampling process. We would love to ask for your help again during the heavy July and August sampling. We also welcome any new volunteers that would like to join in the fun!

The weekly secchi measurements, temperature and dissolved oxygen data is presented on the online Interactive Map. You can also find the present and past weekly data on the Water Quality Data page of our website. We are currently working to develop a dynamic display area that will represent each of the seven lakes in the Belgrade Watershed. Come by and ask Logan Parker at the MLRC Gallery for details!

If you have any questions or comments about the Belgrade Watershed Water Quality Initiative, please do not hesitate to contact me at blfekete@colby.edu.

Have a wonderful Fourth of July. It looks like is it going to be a beauty!!!

“Pulling together we can save our lakes!”