See the Latest Water Quality Monitoring Data from the FoRR Monitoring Team!
FoRR took to the river on March 21 and 22 to monitor at five sites in the Reedy River watershed! Our sites include the following:
- Site #1: Reedy River along the Swamp Rabbit Trail, downstream of Swamp Rabbit Cafe
- Site #2: A small tributary of the Reedy River in Falls Park
- Site #3: Reedy River behind the ReWa headquarters (near our new office!)
- Site #4: A tributary on Greenville Tech's Brashier campus in Simpsonville
- Site #5: A tributary in Cedar Falls Park in Simpsonville
The pH results for March were consistent with February's findings at all five of our reported sites. Conductivity was also fairly consistent with all sites that were sampled in both February and March showing slight decreases in conductivity readings, likely due to sampling in drier conditions this month.
While the dissolved oxygen (DO) levels were still much higher than the SC state average of 5 mg/L, DO levels for March decreased by an average of 1.44 mg/L across all sites since February's monitoring event. This is due to the much warmer air and water temperatures throughout the last month. Warmer water has lower capacity for dissolved oxygen which when combined with the increased demand for oxygen due to the rising metabolisms of aquatic amphibians, fish, reptiles, and invertebrates, leads to lower levels of dissolved oxygen in the water itself. We expect to see DO levels continue to fall as temperatures rise.
March's E. coli bacteria levels showed no or very minor increases at our Swamp Rabbit Cafe, ReWa, Greenville Tech Brasier, and Cedar Falls park sites. Falls Park noted a drastic increase from only 200 CFU/100mL to 933 CFU/100mL. 933 CFU/100mL is still within the SC state standards and does not exceed the 1,000 CFU/100mL "Problematic" limit, but does surpass the "high count" threshold of 349 CFU/100mL as defined by the SC state standards. This can likely be attributed not only to the increased air and water temperatures which leads to thriving bacteria colonies, but also to the return of waterfowl to the area.
While we did not see any geese present during our data collection, Falls Park is a known nesting site for ducks and geese during the warmer months. Because waterfowl waste introduces high levels of E. coli to our waters, we do expect to see a gradual increase in E. coli bacteria colony forming units as temperatures begin to rise, so while this count is not entirely unexpected, it is something we will keep a close eye on in the coming months.
We have included this month's results along with SC's state standards for comparison below. All results were within state standards.
Data from March 2022:
- pH is a way of measuring the H+ ions in a water sample, or if the sample is acidic or basic. pH is influenced by the concentration of acids in rain, and the types of soils and bedrock present in the watershed. Ideally, rivers will have a neutral pH, or a value of 7.
- The available dissolved oxygen (DO) in a water sample is important for fish health and life within a body of water. DO can increase in lower temperatures, turbulence in the water, photosynthesis in the stream, and diffusion from the atmosphere. DO can decrease in higher temperatures, in slow-moving and deep water, and in the presence of decaying organic matter.
- Conductivity is the ability of the water to pass an electric charge and shows the presence of ions in the water, such as salt, nitrate, phosphate, and many others. The bedrock in the watershed can also affect conductivity
- Bacteria counts are found by incubating a water sample that was placed on a medium, then counting the number of coliform forming units. These values are higher in areas where animals are present so always remember to pick up after your pets and don't feed the geese in the park!
THE FORR MONITORING TEAM USES SC ADOPT-A-STREAM TECHNIQUES AND HAS ITS OWN MONITORING KIT, THANKS TO IVY SALON!
SIGN UP TO JOIN THE FORR MONITORING TEAM HERE!
SEE THE UPCOMING SC ADOPT-A-STREAM WORKSHOPS HERE!