TU225’s Water Monitoring Program for the Wood River Watershed

The University of Rhode Island’s Watershed Watch Program started as a cooperative volunteer water monitoring program with the Wood-Pawcatuck Watershed Association (WPWA) in 1988.  The goal of this Program is to provide the current status on ongoing trends of the quality of a selection of waters bodies in Rhode Island to communities, shoreside landowners, local residents, and recreational users so that they will understand what was going on in their local waters so that these organizations and individuals can cooperatively manage and improve their local waters, thus, retaining Rhode Island’s water resources as one of this State’s great assets.  The local Chapter of Trout Unlimited (then titled the Narragansett Chapter (TU225) recently renamed the Rhode Island Chapter (TU225)) joined this volunteer initiative soon after its formation.  The first two volunteer water monitors from TU225 were Lawson Cary, Sr., and Albert Ball.  Al continues to offer his services as a volunteer water monitor to this day; in addition to Al, the current monitors from TU225 are Jeff Perry, Joe Coppalo, and Ron Marafioti.

TU225 monitors four sites monthly through the monitoring season (May – October):

A.  Moosup River at Barbs Hill Road

B.  Falls River at Austin Farm Road

C.  Flat River at Midway

and D.  Wood River after its formation downstream from the merge of the Flat and Falls Rivers at Rte 165

Metrics and or water samples that are collected during each monitoring cycle and the reasons for collecting these metrics are:

            1) Water Temperature – a general measure of the water’s ability to support aquatic lifeforms.

            2) Dissolved Oxygen – a specific measure of the water’s ability to support aquatic lifeforms.

            3) Bacteria – specifically Enterococcia which comes from animal waste – see chart below.  Note that a Bacteria level above 60 ENT/100m can be harmful to people and pets.

            4) Chlorophyll – to check the presence of algae material that may have migrated from headwaters or other ponds.