Our monitoring seasons begin during the middle of April and conclude at the end of October. Each year we complete 15 weeks of testing on a bi-weekly schedule. Testing occurs on Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday mornings by 9:00 am.
A typical volunteer’s day begins around 7:00 am as they report to their designated sites. For those doing multiple sites, testing days begin as early as 6:00 am. Remember that dissolved oxygen levels reach a low just before dawn, obtaining readings at this time gives us the most accurate measurement of that parameter. There are no time of day constraints for the other water quality indicators tested for.
The average time to complete all testing at one monitoring site is 30 to 45 minutes. Each volunteer has a field data sheet for recording information including weather, wildlife observations, water odor, precipitation amounts, and surrounding area conditions. Once all readings are taken, and all water samples for lab analysis are gathered, volunteers meet with commission staff to return equipment, field data sheets, and water samples before beginning their own busy days.
There is a network of steps, called our standard operating procedures, involved for each parameter to arrive at useable data. Volunteers must go through all of these steps at each site they visit to monitor in the morning.