Event Title

Impacts of Rain and Snowmelt on Water Quality of Five Streams in Manitowoc County, Wisconsin

Mentor 1

Rebecca Abler

Mentor 2

Richard Hein

Location

Union Wisconsin Room

Start Date

24-4-2015 2:30 PM

End Date

24-4-2015 3:45 PM

Description

Since 2012, University of Wisconsin-Manitowoc has conducted water quality research on Centerville, Point, Fischer, Pine, and Calvin Creeks which flow through Southern Manitowoc County into Lake Michigan. The main focus of the research was to understand the effect of land use on water quality, and how this impacts Lake Michigan. In addition, we investigated the impact of rain events and snow melt on the level of runoff pollution in the streams. Specifically, our objectives were to collect water quality data by taking weekly samples of physical, nutrient, and biological parameters of the creeks throughout summer. Physical data collected included: temperature, turbidity, pH, conductivity and dissolved oxygen. Nutrient data collected included: total phosphate, dissolved phosphate and ammonia nitrogen (NH3, NH4). Finally, E.coli levels were monitored as a biological indicator of stream health. In addition to weekly sampling, when rain events occurred (accumulating one half inch or more of rain), samples were taken 24 and 48 hour post-rainfall to examine the effect on water quality. Snow melt samples were taken in the spring of 2014. Throughout summer, all five creeks showed unacceptably high levels of E. coli and phosphate, which are key runoff indicators and represent potential health concerns in the watershed. The highest levels of these indicators appear to correlate with higher overall rainfall in 2014 compared to 2012 and 2013, as well as spikes in levels after rain events. Spring 2014 data indicated that snow melt contributions of E. coli and phosphates were relatively low compared to summer levels. However, both of these indicators remained unacceptably high during snow melt sampling. Data indicate that multiple sources of runoff exist along all five creeks. As all sampled creeks flow into Lake Michigan, they are likely contributors to bacterial contamination and algal blooms along the shoreline. The relatively higher rainfall contributions suggest that management of land use around rain events is key to preserving water quality in the creeks as well as Lake Michigan.

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Apr 24th, 2:30 PM Apr 24th, 3:45 PM

Impacts of Rain and Snowmelt on Water Quality of Five Streams in Manitowoc County, Wisconsin

Union Wisconsin Room

Since 2012, University of Wisconsin-Manitowoc has conducted water quality research on Centerville, Point, Fischer, Pine, and Calvin Creeks which flow through Southern Manitowoc County into Lake Michigan. The main focus of the research was to understand the effect of land use on water quality, and how this impacts Lake Michigan. In addition, we investigated the impact of rain events and snow melt on the level of runoff pollution in the streams. Specifically, our objectives were to collect water quality data by taking weekly samples of physical, nutrient, and biological parameters of the creeks throughout summer. Physical data collected included: temperature, turbidity, pH, conductivity and dissolved oxygen. Nutrient data collected included: total phosphate, dissolved phosphate and ammonia nitrogen (NH3, NH4). Finally, E.coli levels were monitored as a biological indicator of stream health. In addition to weekly sampling, when rain events occurred (accumulating one half inch or more of rain), samples were taken 24 and 48 hour post-rainfall to examine the effect on water quality. Snow melt samples were taken in the spring of 2014. Throughout summer, all five creeks showed unacceptably high levels of E. coli and phosphate, which are key runoff indicators and represent potential health concerns in the watershed. The highest levels of these indicators appear to correlate with higher overall rainfall in 2014 compared to 2012 and 2013, as well as spikes in levels after rain events. Spring 2014 data indicated that snow melt contributions of E. coli and phosphates were relatively low compared to summer levels. However, both of these indicators remained unacceptably high during snow melt sampling. Data indicate that multiple sources of runoff exist along all five creeks. As all sampled creeks flow into Lake Michigan, they are likely contributors to bacterial contamination and algal blooms along the shoreline. The relatively higher rainfall contributions suggest that management of land use around rain events is key to preserving water quality in the creeks as well as Lake Michigan.