Wild and Scenic Rivers
Hard to believe I’m approaching my 10 year anniversary as a member of Adventure Scientist. Over that decade I’ve been lucky enough to participate in a variety of citizen science projects that have taken me from remote Alaskan islands to the top of volcanos. Our latest project with them was the Wild and Scenic Rivers project.
I wrote an article about the details of the project here. If you think this might be something you’d be interested in then you’ll also find some links on how to apply.
We volunteered for the Suiattle River which is located in the North Cascades of Washington state. We were able to make multiple collection trips to the river in a variety of weather; from sunny days to fog and rain.
Of course, the hardest trip was the first trip as we had to make multiple attempts to find a suitable collection site. The site needed to meet the requirements for a successful collection process and be safe at the same time. With the volume and speed at which the Suiattle runs that was a bit of a big order to fill. But once we found our site and marked it on our GPS it was routine from that point on.
The routine is to get yourself settled in an area where the flow is running. Then we fill rinse and fill three sample bottles with river water. These we pack away in a cooler filled with ice packs and which will be shipped overnight freight to a lab in Colorado.
Then using two separate probes we measure various data points of the river such as acidity, temperature, dissolved oxygen levels etc. All of this gets entered into an application on our phone and upload to the cloud once we get back to an area with cell coverage. The last piece is to take photos of the banks and vegetation and describe the area.
I’m happy to report that our efforts, along with the rest of the teams of volunteers, paid off with over 570 completed reports from 91 rivers. Almost five times the number from the previous year.
Our mission is a labor of love, but it does come with overhead. If you’d like to support our efforts we’d certainly appreciate it. Currently, we’re actively participating in the following field research:
- COASST Beached Bird Surveys
- Wild and Scenic River Project
The project wrapped up in September with us shipping our probes back to headquarters to be recalibrated for the next round.
However, we’ve been asked to participate in a winter collection effort which I’m happy to say we accepted eagerly. I’m not sure what to expect from the North Cascades in winter, but we’ll jump in with both feet and see what Mother Nature brings. Stay tuned for more updates.