River Water Quality Data: Edge of Appalachia Preserve

By on August 17, 2010

Project Overview

The Ohio Chapter of The Nature Conservancy and The Cincinnati Museum Center at Union Terminal own and manage the Edge of Appalachia Preserve, the largest privately owned protected natural area in Ohio. The Edge of Appalachia, located in southwest Ohio, provides critical habitat for rare species of plants and animals. Ohio Brush Creek, a tributary of the Ohio River, runs through the preserve and is home to several species of endangered freshwater mussels.

To document long-term trends in river water quality and rainfall on the preserve, a monitoring system was installed that allows real-time collection of continuous data. Real-time connection to Ohio Brush Creek with NexSens Technology allows the preserve to “take the pulse” of the creek right before students’, visitors’, and researchers’ eyes.

System Description

Conductivity, dissolved oxygen, pH and turbidity sensors were selected for water quality monitoring. The YSI 6600 sonde offers the latest in sensor technology. The dissolved oxygen probe features a pulsed technology that eliminates the need for stirring. The turbidity sensor includes a self-cleaning wiper that allows long-term deployments with minimal maintenance requirements.

The RM Young 52203 Rain Gauge was chosen for rainfall monitoring. The Model 52203 is a pulse counting rain gauge that is designed for long-term deployments in real-time monitoring networks. The addition of precipitation data to environmental monitoring projects allows researchers to document the impact of storm events on river water quality.

A NexSens 2100-iSIC field modem was chosen to communicate with the remote water quality monitoring site. The field modem allows a real-time communication with remote instruments that are located near a landline phone connection.

NexSens iChart software automatically queries the field sites on a pre-defined schedule. Custom data reports can be automatically generated and distributed by web posting, e-mail or network folder access. Alarms can also be easily setup allowing immediate notification when any parameter is outside of a pre-defined range. NexSens iChart software provides a point-and-click interface for multi-site, multi-vendor real-time environmental monitoring networks. Additionally, reports can be automatically generated to analyze long-term water quality and precipitation trends.

The combination of fouling-resistant water quality sensors and real-time telemetry ensures that quality data is collected for long-term applications. Real-time data allows personnel at the center to educate school groups about river water quality and its impact on ecology of the native organisms inhabiting the site.

Customer Testimonial

“The NexSens remote telemetry setup has been extremely reliable and easy to use.”

“NexSens telemetry allows me to have my coffee in the morning and view real-time creek data in my office while others are wet and freezing in the field with handheld equipment.”

“NexSens software will allow us to send creek data to the museum’s downtown Cincinnati location for 1.4 million visitors to view.”

-Chris Bedel, Preserve Director

Image credit: ovrdc.org

Base Station Equipment List
1001iChart software


Rain Gauge Site Equipment List
iSICiSIC data logger
A11Battery charger, 800 mA
A63RS-230 iSIC cable, 200′
52203Tipping bucket rain gauge


River Site Equipment List
2100-iSICField modem with iSIC
A55Pole/wall mount kit
A22Solar power kit, 20-watt
A76Telephone surge & lightning protection
A38Ground kit
6600E-00YSI 6600EDS sonde with temperature/conductivity, dissolved oxygen, pH, & turbidity sensors


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