The Olentangy River Wetland Research Park at The Ohio State University is one of the nation’s leading wetland research and education facilities.
The OSU wetland facility features two 2.5-acre marshes with a river water delivery system. Thousands of feet of boardwalk offer students and researchers access without disruption to the marsh. A deep-water billabong marsh and a bottomland forest also border the Olentangy River. Recently, a research building was completed on-site. The building provides office and lab space for wetlands researchers, and the facility is managed and operated by wetland scientist, Dr. William Mitsch. NexSens worked closely with Dr Mitsch and his staff to design and install a wetland monitoring system that utilizes multiple instruments from numerous vendors.
The requirements included: water level, quality and flow monitoring at strategic locations throughout the wetland research park, along with a real-time connection to the monitoring devices and software to manage the data.
The YSI 6-series multi-parameter sondes with temperature, conductivity, pH, dissolved oxygen and turbidity were selected for water quality monitoring. These sondes are the latest in sensor technology and can be deployed for weeks without recalibration.
The NexSens AccuStage vented water level sensor was selected for water level monitoring. The AccuStage is a self-contained pressure transducer that provides high performance and accuracy over a wide range of operating conditions. A Panametrics DF868 ultrasonic flow meter was also installed to supply the constructed wetlands with water from the Olentangy River.
NexSens iChart software and spread spectrum radios were chosen to transmit, save, and post real-time data to a PC in the research building from the environmental sensors. In the research building, the PC running iChart software saves the data and displays current conditions from around the wetlands on large plasma video displays. Additionally, iChart automatically produces reports and posts them to the Ohio State web page. Posting real-time data to a web page gives researchers around the world access to recent readings from sensors in the experimental wetlands.
“We find the real-time retrieval of data set up by NexSens Technology for our experimental wetlands to help us in two ways. First we know immediately if there are interesting hydrologic, chemical, or biological events such as floods, clogged outflows or pollution. Then we can alert our research or management team to take adaptive action.
Second, the display of real-time data in our new campus wetland research building will be viewed by thousands of visitors annually at The Olentangy River Wetland Research Park. It is the ecological analogy of seeing the score of a game as it is happening as opposed to reading about it the next day.”
-Dr. William Mitsch, Wetlands Scientist