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QRWA Awared $10,000 Grant by 3 M


The Quinnipiac River Watershed Association (QRWA) was recently notified that they are the recipient of a $10,000 grant from 3M for a Rapid Bioassessment by Volunteers (RBV) of the Quinnipiac River! 

The Rapid Bioassessment Program supports the QRWA’s volunteer monitoring and citizen science programs and helps the Connecticut Department of Energy and Environmental Protection (DEEP) gather much-needed data and monitor our river’s water quality, while 3M is the financial supporter providing the funding for the much needed equipment for this annual task.  3M has a production facility in Meriden on Research Parkway and is a major supplier of water filtration products.

This is a great opportunity for everyday people to take part in the QRWA’s ‘Citizen Science’, a critical component to this entire grant.  The event, our premier fall activity, involves volunteers taking aquatic creature samples along various points along the Q River and its incoming streams, categorizing the live little creatures, returning the samples back into the water and sending some samples to the state of CT for verification.

The samples will contain insects and other creep-crawly things, otherwise known as macro invertebrates.  These macro invertebrates range from being highly sensitive to not so sensitive to changes in their environment, the moving water.  By sampling a number of locations along the Q River, scientists can determine the quality of the water based on the location, number and types of macro invertebrates found in the samples.  They are the pieces of the puzzle that give an overall picture of the health of the Quinnipiac River.  As we plan to do this annually, we can then get a continuous history of the water quality for the 19 towns that fall within the Quinnipiac River watershed.  And if the results show a problem, then the DEEP can research the possible contributors and address them and the public as needed.

The QRWA has participated with DEEP’s Mike Beauchene in this program before, but not in recent years.  Depending on the number of volunteers and team leaders we recruit, we anticipate monitoring the major tributaries along the Quinnipiac River including Honeypot Brook (Cheshire), Eightmile River (Bristol/Southington/Wolcott), Tenmile River (Wolcott/Southington/Cheshire/Prospect), Misery Brook (Southington), Muddy River (Wallingford/Hamden/North Branford), Meetinghouse Brook (Wallingford), Wharton Brook (Wallingford), Harbor Brook (Meriden), Sodom Brook (Berlin/Meriden) and Broad Brook (Cheshire/Meriden/Wallingford).

RBV is a citizen-based water quality-monitoring program developed by the CT DEEP.  The RBV program is a standardized screening method that keeps the equipment, expertise, and time commitment to a minimum while at the same time identifies sections of streams with pollution sensitive organisms.  In some instances, more formal DEEP methods may be required to provide a definitive water quality assessment.

This method was developed specifically so that volunteers could be a part of the water quality monitoring data collection because it is easy to use, eliminates the need for expensive equipment, resources and lengthy time commitment and, provides usable water quality information for the CT DEEP.

We are calling for volunteers who have helped QRWA perform RBV before or who want to participate for the first time to help us with this project.  This is a wonderful way to become active in learning more about the waterways of central CT.  The Quinnipiac is a much used river and because of the efforts of groups like the QRWA, there are now bald eagles who feed in Hanover Pond because of the improved water quality.  We will need one to two team leaders and five to six volunteers per site.  We like to test up to ten sub-basins within the watershed, but depending on the number of volunteers we will prioritize the testing locations as directed by the DEEP.

We plan to have up to ten teams sampling the sub-basins in the Quinnipiac watershed.  Each team consists of one to two team leaders and up to four volunteers.  The volunteer program is comprised of two parts: a required ‘train-the-trainer’ session for team leaders and then actual hands-on stream collection.  The train the trainer sessions ,about 1-2 hours, will be held at the QRWA headquarters at 540 Oregon Road, Meriden, with a possible local practice session, lasting 1-2 hours.

The hands-on portion includes the collection of samples, identification/classification process, preparation of samples for the DEEP, and returning of samples back into the water.  Teams will meet on a Saturday at 10 am at the QRWA building for a quick review and sent off to collect the samples, then return to the QRWA for the identification of the samples, finishing about3pm. 

Most likely, five teams will be scheduled for training and sampling at a time, with one group training in mid-October, with sampling tentatively scheduled for Saturday, October 22nd and the second group training late  October with sampling tentatively scheduled for Saturday, November 5th, rain dates are the following Saturdays.  If you are interested in participating, please contact Becky at (203) 213-4366.  Please check the QRWA website, www.qrwa.org for the latest information.

The 3M funding also includes a follow-up presentation at the QRWA by the DEEP to the public about the findings and the overall water quality of the Quinnipiac River.  This is tentatively set for March, 2012 and will be a wonderful prelude to our annual spring river cleanup event in April.

This is a win-win situation for all participants.  The CT DEEP will receive valuable information about the quality of the Quinnipiac River, and will be able to rely on a consistent source of data over the years.  The QRWA will provide its members and volunteers with an opportunity to play a vital role in the monitoring of the Q River.  And, finally, 3M will become a visible, local supporter of an activity directly related to its mission as a supplier of water filtration products.

Finally, many, many thanks to Joe Struble, engineer with 3M in Meriden for being an avid supporter of this project and for guiding this grant along through the corporate channels.  We look forward to be active in the role of monitoring the health of the Quinnipiac River for years to come.

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