Our monitoring program for the Quittapahilla Watershed is off to a slow start, partly because of restrictions related to the COVID 19 pandemic. But, lately, we have picked up the activities and now the program is coming together very nicely. The program will include six monitoring locations, two on the mainstem Quittapahilla Creek and one on each of the four major tributaries (Snitz, Beck, Bachman, and Killinger). We will have continuous recordings of streamflow and temperature and periodic samples for water contaminants such as nutrients, sediment, and metals.
In August and September, we had four work days where our volunteers worked to install stilling wells and staff plates on bridge wing walls at our monitoring locations. The stilling wells now house pressure transducers to give the needed continuous record of water level which we will convert to stream flow.
Our volunteers handled every task beautifully. They even proved that four heads are better than one. Our initial choice for a monitoring location on Snitz Creek was at the Walnut Street bridge. This location was problematic because it would have needed a lot of digging, would have required an intake pipe to the stilling well, and would have been prone to sedimentation. The volunteer crew suggested that we needed to rethink this decision. We took a look at the bridge over Snitz Creek at Dairy Road and decided to move the monitoring location to the Dairy Road site. Excellent decision!
Now, we are almost ready to begin the actual water-quality sampling. We need to survey each of the monitoring sites, get educated about our pressure transducers, and learn how to make manual streamflow measurements.
We also need some training from the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection, and we need special access to the PA DEP laboratory, which will analyze our samples.
Finally, our volunteers will also collect macroinvertebrate samples and deliver them to Lebanon Valley College for identification and analysis.
We have a big job ahead, but our volunteers seem more than up for the task. Volunteers who have assisted with the installations include Gary Zelinske, Willie Bixler, Stephan Vegoe, Trip McGarvey, David Ethridge, and Mike Schroeder. Thanks for your great work.