Earthplace Harbor Watch
Harbor Watch on FacebookThrough its water quality monitoring activities the Harbor Watch (HW) Program seeks to help protect and restore the biological integrity of the Long Island Sound and its watershed. The program began in 1986 initially as a citizen’s monitoring program which gathered data on hypoxic conditions in our local harbors. The program was formally incorporated into the Earthplace programs in 1993 as Harbor Watch / River Watch.
Since then, HW has greatly expanded its water quality testing and monitoring services to include local rivers, harbors and the Long Island Sound. HW maintains a CT state certified bacteria laboratory to support its testing and monitoring efforts and has several EPA-approved Quality Assurance Project Plans (QAPPs) to guide and to assure the collection of high quality data. The HW objective is to increase watershed literacy and encourage environmental stewardship for both students and community volunteers who participate in the program.
Volunteer and education programs include the Environmental Education Student Internship Program, the Senior Internship Program and summer volunteering.
|Dick Harris||Harbor Watch Directoremail@example.com||121|
|Pete Fraboni||Associate Directorfirstname.lastname@example.org||110|
|Nikki Cantatore||Quality Assurance Officeremail@example.com||110|
|Josh Cooper||Coastal Ecology Technicianfirstname.lastname@example.org||110|
Pete Fraboni and Dick Harris
- Freshwater Monitoring: Staff and trained volunteers go out in the field as a team to approximately 4-8 monitoring sites per trip. Each team gathers data on air temperature, water temperature, dissolved oxygen, conductivity, and a water sample at each site. After all water samples are collected, the team returns to Earthplace and performs membrane filtration tests on each sample for indicator bacteria. On some occasions additional samples may be tested for nutrients. Twice a year, data is compiled, scientific reports are written and they are distributed to the CT DEEP, EPA, local government officials, and the public.
- Trawling: From May-October Harbor Watch participates in a juvenile benthic marine fisheries study in Norwalk, Saugatuck, and Five Mile Harbors. A crew assembles on the RV Annie equipped with a 1m beam trawl and pot hauler. Each harbor is broken down into sampling boxes established by the CT DEEP. A net is dropped overboard and each box is trawled for 3 minutes at 3mph. The catch is sorted, recorded, and released. At the end of the season, a report is compiled and distributed to the CT DEEP and the public.
- Storm Drain Monitoring: Harbor Watch assists local municipalities by monitoring storm drain discharges. The discharges are monitored for indicator bacteria and conductivity levels. If elevated counts are observed, Harbor Watch staff and volunteers work back through the storm drain systems, man-hole by man-hole, to identify sources that would otherwise go unnoticed. Once notified of pollution issues, the municipalities often respond in a quick manner to fix the problem.
- Harbor Dissolved Oxygen Study: Staff and trained volunteers take the RV Annie out in Norwalk harbor or a launch boat in Saugatuck Harbor equipped with dissolved oxygen and salinity meters. At established sites, the meter probes are dropped into the water and data is recorded at 1m intervals from water top to harbor bottom. This information is used to construct oxygen profiles of harbors and to document hypoxic (low oxygen tensions) events, which may occur during the warm summer months. These conditions are damaging to most marine life forms. Data that are collected and processed are supplied to the Connecticut Department of Energy and Environmental Protection (CT DEEP) to aid in their study of hypoxic events in LIS.
HW activities not only allow Earthplace to have a role in collecting and disseminating valuable scientific data, they also support our mission by teaching participants about aquatic and marine resources, and the need for wise use and conservation of these critical and fragile habitats.
Seasonally, HW compiles a water quality report on data collected at 10 established water-sampling sites in the Norwalk River Watershed. Thanks to the Norwalk River Watershed Association (NRWA), these reports are available at www.norwalkriver.org/waterreadings.htm. The reports contain information on indicator bacteria levels, dissolved oxygen conditions, and conductivity. The headwaters of the Norwalk River Watershed are in Ridgefield and its terminus is the Norwalk Harbor. The HW Program also has monitoring efforts in the Saugatuck, Five Mile, Silvermine, Pequonnock Rivers and their tributaries.