In order to improve water quality and protect drinking water, researchers at the St. Joseph River Watershed in Indiana are working to identify best management practices (BMPs) that will reduce soil erosion and the amount of nutrients and chemicals in surface water runoff.
The research area includes a variety of crop and soil types that undergo different agricultural and water management practices. Characterizing water quality in runoff from different site conditions and agricultural treatments will help identify which land management practices are most effective at protecting water resources.
In order to characterize the relationship between water quality, weather, site conditions, and management practices, a network of automated, real-time watershed monitoring stations was installed within the St. Joseph River Watershed.
Every 60 minutes, NexSens Technology radio telemetry data loggers transmit soil, weather, and solar radiation data from numerous, remote sites to a base station computer at a centralized laboratory. This data is analyzed in conjunction with water chemistry data from samples collected by ISCO samplers in response to rain events. Future upgrades will provide the capability to check the status of the ISCO samplers on-line.
Data from the monitoring sites is automatically posted to the Internet on a password protected website at WQData.com. Researchers at the St. Joseph River Watershed Initiative, USDA Agricultural Research Service (ARS), Purdue University, and other associated agencies can access the site to view, analyze, and share data.
Image credit: Friends of the St. Josephs Watershed