IDEM RiverWatch Program

Status Start Date End Date Locations
completed Aug 5, 2017 Aug 31, 2018 Greene
Director: Tracy Branam
Other Researchers: 3 high school students: Carolyn Mirer, Faith Carmichael, Peter Branam
Funding: Indiana University - Indiana Geological & Water Survey
Issue: No data has been collected on a segment of Richland Creek in northeastern Greene County since 2001. Richland Creek has been identified as a PCB-contaminated stream.Since the last sampling, conducted by IDEM personnel, numerous land-use changes have occurred upstream from the monitoring point. The program affords the opportunity to collect new data and provide a mentoring opportunity for interested high school students with access to the stream at the designated monitoring location.
Objective: Collect pertinent data for the IDEM volunteer stream monitoring program known as RiverWatch. Students will be trained to (1) collect water quality data consisting of: temperature, conductivity, pH, redox, dissolved oxygen, biochemical oxygen demand (BOD), turbidity, nitrate, phosphate; (2) flow estimation of stream using cross-section and velocity method; (3) record physical description of stream and bank up to 200 ft above monitoring point, describing stream bed, riparian zone, and sinuosity of stream; (4) collection and identification of macroinvertebrates living in stream at monitoring site, (5) test for total coliform and E. coli bacteria in stream. Student activity will be monitored and assisted as needed. Students will enter data into online forms at IDEM website.Monitoring activity will be conducted once each season for one year for a total of 4 monitoring days.
Approach: Students will be trained to use IGS equimpment for gathering water quality data including: the older model YSI 600Xl sonde and datalogger and the Hach DR2700 spectrophotometer. A dipnet will be used for collecting macroinvertebrates and a key provided by IDNR for identification. Bacteria will be determined using a commercial product designed for specific identification of total coliform and E. coli bacteria on a petri dish incubated for 24 hours at 37°C. A homemade incubator constructed by the Project Director will be used. BOD will be measured on the YSI 5100 meter and BOD probe at initial and after 5 day incubation at 20°C. Students will measure stream cross section at multiple places, average them and conduct a float velocity measurement to determine estimated stream discharge. Students will also record physical observations of stream bed, stream sinuosity and riparian zone condition for a 200 ft upstream segment. All data is recorded on a series of field data sheets provided by IDEM. Collected data will be entered into IDEM database online.
Products: Stream quality and characteristics of Richland Creek in T8N, R3W, section 23 of Greene County, downstream from Monroe and Owen County origins of stream will be provided as part of the statewide stream monitoring program that provides interested parties a statewide view of water quality of Indiana surface drainages.
Benefits: The data will fill a gap in the watershed region of southcentral-sowthwest Indiana for monitoring stream quality of the state. The monitoring activity will afford students the opportunity to gain experience in environmental monitoring techniques and scientific data collection, as well as fulfill extracurricular volunteer activities as part of their education portfolio.