Stream Team

Water Quality Monitoring with the Tuolumne County Stream Team

The Tuolumne County Water Quality Plan calls for monitoring targeted local streams to determine the effectiveness of plan implementation — enter the Tuolumne County Stream Team — a group of local citizens trained to monitor stream health.  On September 17, 2005 Erick Burres of the State Water Resources Control Board Clean Water Team visited Tuolumne County to provide training for a few of the team’s future crew leaders. In 2007, the Tuolumne County Resource Conservation District took over responsibility of Stream Team.

Water quality is defined as a measure of the physical, chemical, biological, and microbiological characteristics of water,  monitoring water quality provides empirical evidence to support decision making on health and environmental issues. A day of Stream Team starts with calibrating a Hanna Instruments multi parameter probe to acquire temperature (C°), pH, electrical conductivity (EC[µS/cm]), dissolved oxygen (%, ppm), and turbidity data (FNU). Tools are carefully checked to ensure that the instrument reads accurately in the field.

Corinne At Sullivan At Bergel

Water Quality Monitoring Program Data

Field Observations

At each site, observations of water color, odor, litter, vegetative conditions, bank disturbance, canopy cover, algae, cobble sizes, aquatic life, temperature, weather, and flow levels can be made and recorded on a field data sheet. While these observations are being made, the probe should be submerged to record data logs for the parameters it was calibrated for. This entails three readings, each three minutes long, for an average.

Stream Team

Nutrient Testing

Stream Team

In addition to the various parameters tested with the probes, water samples at random locations are collected to then test for nitrogen (N), potassium (P), and phosphorous (K) levels. In excessive amounts the nutrients are a form of pollution but in desired amounts the nutrients are vital indicators of riparian health. Using a nutrient analysis photometer and reagent solutions back in the lab we are able to test levels in mg/L from each of our samples indicating location specific data.

What’s Next?

At each site, observations of water color, odor, litter, vegetative conditions, bank disturbance, canopy cover, algae, cobble sizes, aquatic life, temperature, weather, and flow levels can be made and recorded on a field data sheet. While these observations are being made, the probe should be submerged to record data logs for the parameters it was calibrated for. This entails three readings, each three minutes long, for an average.

Stream Team
Stream Team
Stream Team Dissolved oxygen
Stream Team - Dissolved Oxygen
Stream Team - Dissolved Oxygen