Vermont Watershed Management Division participates in second-annual Sample-palooza
The Connecticut River Watershed Council (CRWC), New Hampshire Department of Environmental Services (NHDES), Vermont Department of Environmental Conservation (VTDEC), Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection (MassDEP), Yale University (Yale), and New England Interstate Water Pollution Control Commission (NEIWPCC) participated in the second annual large-scale, one-day water testing event in the Connecticut River basin, known as “Samplepalooza 2015”. On September 10, 2015 multiple teams of volunteers and professionals visited over 65 locations covering more than 1,000 river miles across four states. Samples will be tested for nutrients, chloride, and other water quality parameters to help determine the amount and impact of these pollutants.
Samplepalooza 2015 is a coordinated effort between CRWC, the state agencies, and citizen scientists to collect data to support a multi-state effort to reduce nitrogen pollution in Long Island Sound. Nitrogen from the Connecticut River and other rivers entering the Sound has been determined to be the cause of the “dead zone” documented by researchers in the Long Island Sound. Excess nitrogen causes large amounts of algae to grow. As the algae dies, it depletes the water of dissolved oxygen that is critical for aquatic wildlife.
“We like to say that the river connects us, and this project clearly shows that what happens upriver has an impact on the Long Island Sound. We are committed to ensuring that our impact is positive rather than negative,” says Andrew Fisk, Executive Director of the Connecticut River Watershed Council, the lead organizer of this effort.
The sampling strategy this year was to test a large number of locations on the same day when rivers are at low flow. Though rain did occur in a few localized areas, river flows still remained relatively low. This event provides a unique snapshot of the characteristics of the Connecticut River and its tributaries. Building on the results of 2014, the project is designed to identify areas of the watershed that provide the largest sources of nutrients. Future sampling efforts may target different flow regimes or seasons and may help identify projects or locations to focus on reducing nutrient impacts.