Summer 2016 offers a great opportunity to get involved in a locally-run project to protect and preserve one of our most precious resources: our lake and river. Lake Pend Oreille Waterkeeper is now accepting new volunteers to become Citizen Scientists with the Water Quality Monitoring Program; an effort to measure changes in water quality across the Lake Pend Oreille Watershed over time. If you enjoy water sports and are passionate about active stewardship, this volunteer program will offer lots of fun and the chance to participate in a long-term stewardship effort. If you’re interested in becoming a Citizen Scientist, LPOW invites you to attend their volunteer info meeting on May 10th to learn more about the program and how to get involved.
The WQMP story:
Since 2012, the Lake Pend Oreille Water Quality Monitoring Program (WQMP) has tracked changes to water quality conditions at designated sites across our lake and river, gathering critical water quality information from June through October each year. Headed up by the Sandpoint non-profit group Lake Pend Oreille Waterkeeper, and driven by volunteer Citizen Scientists, the WQMP is creating a broad base of knowledge about how local waterways change from month to month and year to year.
One of LPOW's core programs, the WQMP is our watershed’s first consistent long-term monitoring effort to measure water quality. What's more, this effort is nearly 100 percent driven by the power of volunteer Citizen Scientists. By continually monitoring year after year, the WQMP is building a solid understanding of local waterways; documenting current water quality conditions and creating a reference point for any future changes that may occur. The program's goals are to inform the public and provide high-quality scientific data that can help our state agencies determine beneficial uses and impairment status for Lake Pend Oreille and the Pend Oreille River.
2016 marks the 5th field season for the WQMP. From June through October, LPOW and its crew of dedicated Citizen Scientists will collect over 900 water quality measurements from the program’s 15 monitoring stations on Lake Pend Oreille and the Pend Oreille River. Each month, volunteers collect water samples from all the program’s stations. These samples are then evaluated for 11 different biological, chemical, and physical tests. Data is collected to measure: water temperature, dissolved oxygen, pH, transparency, total nitrogen, nitrate+nitrite, total phosphorous, ortho phosphorus, total organic carbon, and total coliforms and E. coli.
Taking these measurements on a regular basis helps us understand seasonal patterns happening in local waterways and the overall “health” of our lake and river systems. Visit the WQMP resource page online to view the data collected by the WQMP in 2012, 2013, 2014 and 2015 in a series of interactive graphs.
The 2016 WQMP volunteer information meeting will be held at LPOW’s downtown office, 109 N 1st Avenue, STE B , on May 10th from 4:30 – 5:30 pm. This meeting is open to anyone interested in participating in this program as a Citizen Scientist.