Water Quality Monitoring & Watershed Assessments
Water Quality Monitoring
There are 4 separate but equally important categories to Water Quality Monitoring and Stream Assessments on AMD Impacted Streams. EPCAMR Staff are available to teach volunteer members of watershed organizations and school groups that are a part of a water quality monitoring program in their watershed on how to perform these tests. Alternate methods will be mentioned and recommended based on the individual situation.
1. Water Quality Monitoring:
- Training consists of water quality testing utilizing HACH AMD Field Kits, or LaMotte Field Test Kits, pH meters, Conductivity Meters. Other HACH Field Test kits also available are Water Quality Monitoring, Fish Farming & Limnology. Every watershed group, at a minimum, should be testing for pH, Acidity, Alkalinity and Iron. Other parameters may be suggested on a case by case basis.
2. Water Quantity Monitoring:
- Training consists of water quantity monitoring is taught using a velocity meter or VHR (Velocity Head Rod) measurements multiplied by the stream cross section to determine flow. Without flow, you cannot determine loading, which is important for the TMDL process.
3. Biological Assessment:
- Training consists of macro-invertebrate sampling methods utilizing in-stream Kick Net sampling and use of Stroud Water Institute Leaf Pack Kits to aide in identification. Stream Bioassessment will be performed to determine %EPT Index (Mayflies – E, Stoneflies – P, Caddisflies – T), Taxa Richness, EPT Richness, MHI (Modified Hilsenhoff Index), % Tolerance Index, % Dominance Index and an overall comparative Stream Index based on West Virginia Save our Streams Level 2 Program Guidelines. “Bugs” are excellent indicators of stream health.
4. Visual Habitat Assessments:
- Training consists of an In-Stream Habitat Evaluation based on the Western Pennsylvania Conservancy methods. Students rate the characteristics of a stream reach and tally the individual results to show a comparative total score of Poor, Fair, Good or Excellent.
EPCAMR Staff are also available to assist groups in developing watershed plans that will accurately reflect the needs of the organization to perform a comprehensive watershed assessment and/or abandoned mine reclamation plans. EPCAMR has assisted numerous groups in the development of watershed level assessment plans and reports. Prior work includes writing or contributing to the following plans/reports:
- WRAS (Watershed Restoration Action Strategy)
- RCP (PA DCNR Rivers Conservation Plan)
- CHP (PA DCNR Coldwater Heritage Plan)
- WSR (Watershed Stewardship Reports)
- CMP (Conservation Management Plan)
- CBTS (Chesapeake Bay Tributary Strategy)
- TMDL (PA DEP Total Maximum Daily Load)
- WRIR (USGS Water-Resource Investigation Report)
- OFR (USGS Open File Report)
- QHUP (PA DEP BAMR Qualified Hydrologic Unit Plans)