Crow’s Nest: Schuylkill Water Stewards
By Daniel Barringer, Preserve Manager.
Last weekend we hosted the first session of volunteer training for the Schuylkill Water Stewards, people who will be monitoring water quality and conditions of local streams. The initiative is funded by the William Penn Foundation and is a partnernship of many organizations: Green Valley Association, French & Pickering Creeks Conservation Trust, Audubon Pennsylvania, Berks Nature, the Hay Creek Watershed Association, and Natural Lands.
The first training session was held at Crow’s Nest Preserve and as part of it we visited a section of Pine Creek upstream that is called a “reference” stream: one that has the conditions of highest natural qualities and therefore is compared to all other streams.
In the photo above, instructor Kelsey Stanton is showing the group algae on rocks as an indicator of water quality. The volunteers are trained to record easily-identified characteristics of stream quality that correspond closely to more expensive and time-consuming laboratory testing; combined with a few physical measurements of stream condition the observations paint a real-time picture of water quality and trends.