2020 Freshwater Pond Water Quality Monitoring Program Volunteers

Friends of Chatham Waterways is looking for a few good people to join our corps of Citizen Scientists in 2020. We are looking for volunteers to join our pond monitoring program and help collect water quality data on six of Chatham’s fresh-water ponds: Barclay, Emery, Lovers, Schoolhouse, Stillwater, and White. Volunteers will collect field data on the pond’s turbidity, dissolved oxygen levels, and temperature profile. These data are then entered on data forms that are emailed to the Town’s Department of Health and Natural Resources for further analyses. Volunteers are trained and certified in the use of the water sampling equipment. Data collection is done three times per summer—generally once in May, July, and Sept. Our goal is to have 6 to 8 teams of two people to help divide up the monitoring effort. Note that data is collected at a specific location on the pond, so use of a boat or kayak will be necessary. FCW will assist in the procurement of a vessel as needed.

This fresh-water program began in the summer of 2015, sixteen years after FCW launched the ‘Water Watchers’ monitoring program to test the water quality of our salt-water estuaries. This is a long-term monitoring program intended to gauge the overall health of our ponds, discern any trends, and help guide any potential water quality mitigation strategies. In combination with the Friends of Chatham Waterways cyanobacteria monitoring program, the freshwater pond water quality monitoring program helps to provide a holistic view of the water quality and aquatic health of Chatham’s fresh-water ponds. Joining our corps of Citizen Scientists is a great reason to get out of the house, away from yard work or other chores, and to enjoy one of Chatham’s many amazing aquatic resources, our beautiful and peaceful freshwater ponds. It’s also a wonderful educational experience for kids; not to mention an important volunteer service for the Town of Chatham. If you’re interested and would like more information, please click here to fill out a freshwater pond water quality monitoring volunteer form. You’ll be contacted right away to discuss this volunteer opportunity with Friends of Chatham Waterways.

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2020 Freshwater Pond Cyanobacteria Monitoring Program Volunteers

Friends of Chatham Waterways is looking for a few good people to join our corps of Citizen Scientists in 2020. We are looking for volunteers to join our monitoring program to help collect water samples in five of Chatham’s freshwater ponds that will then be examined for the presence of toxic blue-green algae (cyanobacteria). The purpose of the sampling program is to identify any potential toxicity generated by the cyanobacteria before it becomes a public health matter. Volunteers make some basic field observations at their pond and then collect water samples from the shoreline. The water samples are dropped off at the Town of Chatham Annex building for processing and further lab analyses. Volunteers will learn to detect cyanobacteria blooms in the ponds, will be trained on the use of the testing and sampling equipment, and can also volunteer to help process the water samples in the Town lab.

In 2020 we will again test five fresh-water ponds in Chatham: Lovers, Stillwater, White, Schoolhouse, and Goose. Water samples will be taken twice per month beginning in late spring and into the early fall. Our goal is to have 8 to 10 teams of two people to divide up the sampling effort across the various ponds. Joining our corps of Citizen Scientists is a great reason to get out of the house, away from yard work or other chores, and to enjoy one of Chatham’s many amazing aquatic resources, our beautiful and peaceful freshwater ponds. It’s also a wonderful educational experience for kids; not to mention an important volunteer service for the Town of Chatham. If you’re interested and would like more information, please click here to fill out the cyanobacteria monitoring volunteer form. You’ll be contacted right away to discuss this volunteer opportunity with Friends of Chatham Waterways.

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Coastsweep

Due to Covid-19 the Massachusetts Office of Coastal Zone Management (CZM) and the Ocean Conservancy have decided to cancel Coastsweep 2020! Friends of Chatham Waterways usually sponsors Coastsweep locally and coordinates the volunteers and trash removal effort. While a bit disappointed, we are not discouraged! In lieu of the official 2020 Coastsweep event, FCW would still like to encourage our volunteers to head out and clean up Chatham's waterways during the remaining part of September through the month of October. There will not be any data cards from the Ocean Conservancy to fill out this year to record debris results, nor will there be disposable gloves or bags available from the CZM to collect the trash, but there is still a need to clean up our local beaches.  Please consider spending a few hours along a section of our waterways and help pitch in! Send us a picture or post to your social media to share your efforts!

Please use your own gloves and bags and be sure to observe Covid-19 mask wearing and social distancing guidelines. Hopefully we will see you in 2021 for the next official Coastsweep event and thank you again for your efforts this fall!

Water Watchers (Salt Water Testing Volunteering)

Chatham Water Watchers Water Quality Monitoring Program is a comprehensive monitoring program that collects nutrient related water quality data. The Friends of Chatham Waterways, in cooperation with the Town of Chatham, Pleasant Bay Alliance, Harwich Natural Resources Office, and Orleans Water Quality Task Force, has recruited and trained more than 150 volunteers to monitor field conditions and collect water quality samples at locations throughout Pleasant Bay, Stage Harbor Estuaries and South Coastal Embayment’s. All program procedures follow a Quality Assurance Project Plan (QAPP) approved by the Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection.

Water quality data is collected by the volunteers for the following parameters: salinity, temperature, Dissolved Oxygen, Secchi Depth, Phytoplankton Pigments (Chloraphyll-a and Phaeophytin), Dissolved Inorganic Nitrogen, Particulate Organic Nitrogen, Dissolved Organic Nitrogen, Total Organic Nitrogen, Total Nitrogen and Organic Carbon.

Samples are collected at two depths (one-half meter below surface and one-half meter above bottom) for most stations. During each sampling event stations are randomly selected for duplicate sampling as specified in the QAPP. Once collected, water samples are transported to the School for Marine Science and Technology (SMAST) Laboratory at the University of Massachusetts-Dartmouth campus for nutrient analysis, by the Town of Chatham Natural Resources Department.

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