The Center for the Environment (CFE) at Plymouth State University has been working with the Israel’s River Volunteer Advisory Group on monitoring the river’s water isotope and winter chloride Levels. On Wednesday, June 22, 7 pm at the Jefferson Town Hall, the Jefferson Conservation Commission will host a talk and discussion about the results of this project. The public is invited to attend.
Water isotope analysis is a powerful new technique being used at CFE to provide a better understanding of dynamics of a watershed. Isotopes are harmless, oxygen and hydrogen atoms that are part of water molecules. Some water sources have different amounts of these stable isotopes providing a tracer for hydrologists to understand how water moves throughout the watershed.
Special equipment at the CFE laboratory for measuring water isotopes has been used to analyze numerous water samples gathered on the Israel’s River in 2010 as it flows from its headwaters in Randolph, through Jefferson and Lancaster where it joins the Connecticut River. On this path, the water in the river comes from ground, the surface, and the atmosphere through rain and snow. Although the river is high quality, along the way there are many ways in which the water quality can be impacted. Understanding how water flows through the watershed along with monitoring the water quality, helps to provide a more complete picture of the Israel’s River.
The presentation will also focus on chloride levels in the river. Although chloride occurs naturally in our water sources, salt, or sodium chloride, it is used on roads in New Hampshire and, depending on the watershed hydrology, it can end up in our rivers, lakes, and aquifers increasing the concentration of chloride. This past winter, a sensor was placed in the river for several months providing estimated chloride levels every 15 minutes using electrical conductivity. This information will help to provide a better understanding of the impact of snow melt on water quality.
Kristin Brandt, graduate student at CFE, and Aaron Johnson, manager of the Environmental Research Laboratory, will present the results of the Israel’s River project. There will be plenty of time for discussion about the project and to share thoughts about potential future environmental research projects in the Israel River watershed.
Funding for this project was provided in part by the Neil and Louise Tillotson Fund of the New Hampshire Charitable Foundation, North Country Region as a sub-award from the Coös County Outreach Initiative of the Center for Rural Partnerships at Plymouth State University.