Salt Pond Watchers, Citizen Monitoring for Better Government Decisions

by V. Lee, Univ of Rhode Island, Narragansett, United States,

Document Type: Proceeding Paper

Part of: Coastal Zone '91


Since 1985, 50 Salt Pond Watchers have monitored the effects of development on 7 estuarine bays in Rhode Island. Volunteers test the waters biweekly for temperature, dissolved oxygen (LaMotte kit), salinity (salinometer), and turbidity (Secchi disk), and collect water samples for chlorophyll, nutrient, and fecal coliform testing at university, state, and federal labs. Volunteers also check for eelgrass-wasting disease, conduct waterfowl counts, and measure rainfall. Results are used by state and municipal government agencies for shell fish closures, zoning changes, wastewater management policies, and state water quality reports for EPA. The program's goals are to develop long-term trends for use in management decisions and research and to foster a sense of stewardship for these resources. Volunteers assist with coordination, data management, and editing a quarterly newsletter, 'Salt Ponds.' Funding is from Rhode Island Sea Grant with in-kind contributions from URI, the Rhode Island Department of Health, and the Federal Food and Drug Administration.

Subject Headings: Rhode Island | United States

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