Paper Towel Travesty

(paragraph form) (simplified procedures)

I arrived at the nature center at 9AM. My brother and I carried all of the equipment to my desk, and I met Ed Morykwas outside–he was photographing the native species in the garden. I walked with him back to my desk. I wore my backpack and carried the purple container and waders, while he carried the Kroger bag, and together we walked to Site #1 and set down all of the equipment.

I took one of the thermometers and measured the water temperature: 18 degrees Celsius. I then took one of the water sampling bottles and filled it with water for the dissolved oxygen test. There was an air bubble in the bottle, so I had to redo it. It’s been a while since I’ve done any of the tests, so I was rusty. Ed Morykwas took pictures of me and then he left.

It was around 9:50AM by then. A woman passed by and then a man. The man said that when his son was younger than me, in 1987, his son tested the effects of road salt on the Rouge River, which I thought was very interesting! Three other women passed by.

I recorded physical observations. I then went through the tests methodically. I probably took longer on them than I could have because I was being careful and gaining muscle memory. (Tangent: I stood up during one of the tests because I had been squatting and my legs were killing me–and, lo and behold, a deer was staring straight at me from across the bridge!) Oh, and I didn’t have paper towels (hence the title of this blog post!), so I had to use gloves to catch the overflow for the dissolved oxygen test.

Dissolved Oxygen – I followed the instructions until the water sample was “fixed.” I completed the test at my desk – 6.8 mg/L (unadjusted) and 73% saturation.

Biochemical Oxygen Demand – I collected water and covered the bottle with aluminum foil – I will finish this test on 7/2/17. *Update: 6.8 mg/L – 5.0 mg/L = 1.8 mg/L

pH – I measured the pH as 8.0.

Nitrates – I measured nitrates as 0.

Phosphates – I finished this test at home. Color wheel value 2 / 50 = 0.04 / 3 = 0.013 mg/L PO4-P. Note: there could very well have been 0 mg/L phosphates in the river water as there’s an element of human error here.

Turbidity – I calculated the turbidity as 5 JTU.

Change in Temperature – This was 2 degrees Celsius.

Fecal Coliform – I plated the gel and it solidified. I will finish this test around 1PM on 6/29/17. *Update: 150 colonies per 100 mL of river water

Total Solids – I will not be carrying out this test.

I have all of my data recorded in Google Slides. I’m missing four tests right now, but I calculated Q-values and Water Quality Indices for the other five tests. I used the adjustment formula to calculate Overall Water Quality even though this can only be done when one to three tests are missing, and my Adjusted Water Quality Index was 81.0178571429 84.05357143.

This falls in the “Good” range of 71-90. Remember, four tests are missing. But this is a nice, concrete start!

I should have measured the “length of section to be surveyed.”

I calculated stream discharge (using an apple instead of an orange!):

1.83m (average width) x 0.0445 m (average depth) x 0.68842105 m/s (average velocity) x 0.9 (roughness constant) = 0.05045541 m^3/s (discharge!)

I calculated a Q-value and Water Quality Index for the phosphate test. I used the adjustment formula to calculate Overall Water Quality again because only three tests are missing now. My Adjusted Water Quality Index was 83.7424242 86.31818182.

This again falls in the “Good” range of 71-90!




One thought on “Paper Towel Travesty

  1. Nancy Klein says:

    What a GREAT blog Jenny! Nice to hear about all your “take aways” from the Stage Nature Center!
    Looking forward to seeing how your experience progresses and I hope you are enjoying your time spent exploring the Rouge River.

    I’m passing along a Clinton River contact just in case you might be interested in comparing your findings or want another knowledgeable water contact person. Both the Rouge and Clinton River watershed programs are great in water education!

    Matt Einheuser
    Watershed Ecologist
    Clinton River Watershed Council
    1115 W. Avon Road
    Rochester Hills, MI 48309
    248.601.0606 x 23


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