Plymouth State University project will help provide insight into NH water quality

July 16th, 2013 by Lynn

    By DAN SEUFERT
    Union Leader Correspondent

    Left to right, Plymouth State University environmental science and policy graduate students Ashley Hyde and Matt Bartley collect water samples in the Pemigewasset River in Plymouth last week. (COURTESY)

    PLYMOUTH — On Tuesday, about 50 volunteers will be in various spots around the state taking a “snapshot” of the water quality in New Hampshire’s rivers and streams.

    They won’t be using cameras, they’ll be taking water samples as part of a new Plymouth State University-led project aimed at improving the understanding of the state’s water resources and providing data to be used by resource managers, state agencies, researchers, and educators.

    Each volunteer will collect water samples that will be sent to PSU and University of New Hampshire laboratories for detailed chemical analysis.

    PSU is believed to be the first to organize such an effort in the state, according to Bruce Lyndes, PSU’s media relations manager.

    “Each sampling day involves volunteers carefully collecting filtered water samples from their site,” said Errin Volitis, a research technician with PSU’s Center for the Environment, who is helping to coordinate the effort.

    “The samples are then frozen for storage and sent to a laboratory for analysis. PSU has provided each volunteer with sampling supplies and instructions, but the volunteers have made the project possible.”Mark Green, an assistant professor of hydrology at PSU who developed the project concept, said the snapshots will give researchers a better idea of how the state’s water resources respond to different land uses.

    “The data from this project will be extremely valuable in creating new understanding about our water conditions in New Hampshire,” Green said.

    The sampling is part of a larger project funded by the National Science Foundation through a cooperative agreement with the New Hampshire Experimental Program to Stimulate Competitive Research.

    Since 2012, state-of-the-art sensors have been recording temperature, electrical conductivity, and river height continuously at each of the water sampling sites. The network has been designed to include all watershed sizes, shapes and land uses, which are geographically dispersed across New Hampshire.

    The network is coordinated by a group of researchers, staff and students at PSU and implemented by a broad group of partners, including educators, researchers, government agencies, non-profit organizations and citizen scientists.

    Data from the sampling project will be analyzed this fall and results will be then be shared.

    “We can’t thank (the volunteers) enough,” said Volitis.

    NH volunteers to collect 87 simultaneous river, stream samples for Plymouth State research

    July 16th, 2013 by Lynn

       By HOLLY RAMER  Associated Press
      July 14, 2013 – 2:31 pm EDT

      CONCORD, New Hampshire — More than 50 volunteers will be simultaneously collecting water samples from 87 New Hampshire rivers and streams next week as part of a research project that organizers believe is the first of its kind in the state.

      The project’s leaders at Plymouth State University hope that by taking snapshots of water quality, they can provide a better understanding of the state’s various water resources and how they respond to housing development and other types of land use.

      “We have pretty good data around the state, but it’s often collected at different times,” said Mark Green, an assistant professor of hydrology who developed the project. “So if you coordinate a lot of people to dip a bottle at a similar time, that’s the best way to compare the way different land uses impact water quality.”

      That’s important, he said, because water quality has a significant economic impact in the state.

      “It makes it a great place to live, but it also brings in a lot of tourism,” he said.

      Using supplies and instructions provided by Plymouth State, volunteers will collect filtered water samples from their sites, which range from spots where rivers begin in the White Mountains of northern New Hampshire to where the Connecticut and Merrimack rivers cross into Massachusetts. The samples will then be frozen for storage and sent to a laboratory, which will determine basic measures of water quality. That includes determining concentrations of phosphorus and dissolved organic carbon, as well as evaluating acidity, turbidity and clarity.

      Researchers also will look at ions that contribute to electrical conductivity, which will help with a larger project funded by the National Science Foundation. That research involves sensors that continuously record temperature, electrical conductivity and river height at the sampling sites.

      Green said those sensors provide rough information about whether road salt, for example, is getting into the water and affecting quality. The water sampling project will provide more detailed information to explore that issue, he said.

      Data from the July 16 sampling, along with previous samplings in May and June, will be analyzed in the fall and shared with state agencies, resource managers, researchers and educators. While the information will be most sought after by scientists, Green said researchers also want to share the findings in a way that makes sense to the volunteers, many of whom were motivated to participate because they care about rivers and streams in their area.

      “A big goal of ours is to be able to communicate this back to interested citizens,” he said. “We want to be able to provide information so they know where they sit relative to the rest of the state with regards to water quality.”

      NH to gather 87 simultaneous river, stream samples

      July 16th, 2013 by Lynn

        CONCORD, N.H. (AP) — Volunteers will be dipping bottles into 87 New Hampshire rivers and streams at the same time next week as part of a water sampling project that organizers believe is the first of its kind in the state.

        Plymouth State University assistant hydrology professor Mark Green is leading the project. He says while there is good water quality data around the state, a lot of it was collected at different times. He hopes taking a one-day snapshot will provide a better understanding of the state’s various water resources and how they respond to housing development and other types of land use.

        The samples collected Tuesday will be frozen for storage and sent to a laboratory, which will determine basic measures of water quality.

        Plymouth State students oversee volunteer water sampling project

        July 16th, 2013 by Lynn

          PLYMOUTH STATE UNIVERSITY Environmental Science and Policy graduate students Ashley Hyde and Matt Bartley collect water samples in the Pemigewasset River in Plymouth July 8. COURTESY

          PLYMOUTH — On July 16, volunteers throughout New Hampshire have committed to collecting water samples in the State’s rivers and streams to take a ‘snapshot’ of water quality.

          Plymouth State University is overseeing this unique water sampling project with the goal of improving the understanding of New Hampshire’s water resources and providing data to be used by resource managers, state agencies, researchers, and educators.

          How does it work? Approximately 50 volunteers throughout New Hampshire have committed to collecting water samples that will be sent to PSU and a University of New Hampshire lab for detailed lab analysis of a number of different chemicals in water.

          PSU is believed to be the first to organize such an effort in New Hampshire — and effort that has involved hours of planning and logistics. Errin Volitis, a research technician with the Center for the Environment at PSU is helping to coordinate the effort.

          “Each sampling day involves volunteers carefully collecting filtered water samples from their site,” said Volitis. “The samples are then frozen for storage and set to a laboratory for analysis. PSU has provided each volunteer with sampling supplies and instructions, but the volunteers have made the project possible.”

          Assistant professor of hydrology Mark Green is the researcher who developed the project concept.

          “The idea was to give us three snapshots of NH’s rivers and streams allowing us to better understand the difference between water resources in the State, and how these water resources respond to the different types of land use,” Green said. “The data from this project will be extremely valuable in creating new understanding about our water conditions in New Hampshire.”

          The river sites where water samples are being collected are part of a larger project funded by the National Science Foundation through a cooperative agreement to the New Hampshire Experimental Program to Stimulate Competitive Research. Since 2012, state-of-the-art sensors have been recording temperature, electrical conductivity, and river height continuously at each of the water sampling sites.

          The network has been designed to include all watershed sizes, shapes and land uses, which are geographically dispersed across New Hampshire. The network is coordinated by a group of researchers, staff and students at Plymouth State University and implemented by a broad group of partners, including educators, researchers, government agencies, non-profit organizations and citizen scientists.

          “The water samples will be analyzed to determine basic measures of water quality. We are looking at concentrations of phosphorus, dissolved organic carbon and nitrogen in addition to pH, turbidity or clarity, and major ions (Calcium, Magnesium, Sodium, Potassium, Chloride, Sulfate, Nitrate). These ions are major contributors to electrical conductivity, so they will help us interpret the water electrical conductance data we get from the sensors,” said Green.

          Data from the July 16 sampling project will be analyzed this fall and results shared then. “We can’t thank everyone enough,” said Volitis.

          Water monitoring getting underway

          May 24th, 2008 by Julie

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