Thoughts on Science
To all of my amazing Stream Team chloride volunteer friends, if you haven't started your chloride monitoring, what are you waiting for?! I recommend venturing out this afternoon or Saturday morning, before the temperature drops to somewhere below freezing for the next few days.
With the changes in our overall chloride monitoring program, there have been a few changes to the documentation provided to the citizen scientists.
You can still find the basic methods (with a few minor changes), contact information for Stream Team and MSD partners, and the optional datasheet. The program hasn't really changed; we are just getting better organized and have begun the work of making sense of the data that has been collected!
Rarely do we consider what is under our feet as we walk down the street. There may be a labyrinth just a couple of meters below your toes. Generally, the series of pipes and tubes that make up the stormwater system are relatively empty, aside from a trickle of water, some discarded cups and cans, and possibly a big pile of leaves.
When we get precipitation (either rain or meltwater from sow and ice), the stormwater system becomes a completely different place. The network of pipes fill with water moving at high speeds.
When putting monitoring equipment into a stormwater pipe, there are several important things to keep in mind:
On Wednesday, November 30, we held our annual Chloride Kickoff meeting. In the past, these meetings have mostly been an opportunity for Stream Team volunteers to join together and review the plan for the winter. This year was different. This year the event included the introduction to the stormwater chloride study being conducted by Saint Louis University with funding from the US EPA Urban Waters program.
This expansion of the Chloride Kickoff event also resulted in the inclusion of a new set of participants. We were pleased to welcome public works staff members from five of the six municipalities that are taking part in the grant study: Ballwin, Jennings, Manchester, Rock Hill, and Webster Groves. (Ferguson staff were unable to attend the evening.) During the social hour, it was wonderful to witness the interactions between public works representatives, State agency staff, and citizen scientists. The willingness and ability of these partners to work together will ensure the success of our combined effort to reduce chloride pollution in our suburban streams.