My first day…as a water quality monitor—Doris Dubielzig reports:
"In our first year as a Lake Forecasting Steward with Clean Lakes Alliance, the Friends recruited a team of volunteers, each of whom committed to collect near-shore data twice a week for a month. Our site is the floating pier at the boat launch on University Bay across from parking lot 60. Steve Sentoff was the first to make observations, beginning shortly after Luke Wynn, Watershed specialist for CLA, trained our 7 member team in late April. Nicole Miller and Genevieve Murtaugh continued in June. I had signed up for July. On Monday night, I drove to Nicole’s home, where she handed me the Instruction Book, the digital thermometer and the turbidity tube.
Today was my first day to make and record the seven visual observations and three measurements. Gisela Kutzbach, ever inquisitive, joined me as I struggled to read my notes from the April training. We had the pier to ourselves this morning. I checked that the plastic tapes marking the boundaries of our observation area, 50 feet on either side of the pier, were still attached to their shrubs, and encountered a handsome catbird in the process.
On the pier, above water about 3 feet deep, I turned on the digital thermometer and held it shaded by my body to read the air temperature, 81.9F. Then I dropped to my knees, stretched out my arm and held the thermometer probe upright in the water. To my surprise, the water temperature, which Steve had recorded at 45 degrees on April 29, and Nicole at 67 degrees just 8 days ago, was now 80.1 degrees F!
Gisela and I observed the water clarity at knee depth (Good—thank you zebra mussels), wave intensity (calm to small ripples = 1), waterfowl (none), and number of people in the water (none). For Surface Algal Bloom, we saw patches of algae near the pier and next to the shore. In addition, we saw patches of floating plants—duckweed (Lemna) and strands of milfoil.
Finally, I dipped the 120cm turbidity tube into the lake at the 3 foot level, filled the tube to the top, and removed it to the shade of a nearby tree. Peering down the vertical tube, I could clearly see the Secchi disk on the bottom, and recorded 120cm, the maximum value. The clarity is all the more impressive, given that Nicole was unable to make a turbidity measurement 6 days ago due to a blue-green algae bloom that ringed the Lake.
I am pleased to be part of the community of Yahara lakes water quality monitors and very grateful to have such an enthusiastic team to share the responsibilities of collecting data. In August and September, Olympia Mathiaparanam, Genevieve Murtaugh and Matt Chotlos complete the data collecting season, which extends to the end of September."
See also summary of all Citizen Science Project sponsored by the Friends Photos Gisela Kutzbach.