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What's in Your Water?
By Elizabeth Kovats
Dreaming of cervezas and a Mariachi band, a group of volunteers trekked out to Duxbury Reef on Cinco de Mayo for the Association’s annual participation in Snapshot Day. The event brings together local communities to test water conditions throughout the state, as well as inform participants about the health of our marine environment.
Wondering what’s in our local water?
Snapshot Day engages teams of citizen monitors to take a one day “snapshot” of water conditions in our coastal watershed. It is usually done during a few hours on a specific day to collect important information about the health of the rivers and streams that flow into the ocean. The event is the only one of its kind, and brings an awareness and understanding to citizens of how our actions and consumption affect the water in our environment.
For the fourth year, Sanctuary volunteers gathered at Bolinas, some new and others making their yearly pilgrimage, and were trained in the use of various instruments to determine the water quality of four north bay sites – Bolinas Dock, Pine Creek, Duxbury Reef and Alder Creek. The volunteer team worked closely with Dominic Gregorio, a scientist with the State Water Resources Control Board and an avid proponent of keeping our waters safe and clean.
“Getting out there and visibly seeing the results of our work, and having the opportunity to work with Dominic, made for an amazing and educational afternoon,” commented volunteer Webb Johnson.
The teams measured water temperature, dissolved oxygen, conductivity (a measure of dissolved solids or salinity), pH (a measure of acidity) and water clarity. In addition, water samples were sent to laboratories for further analysis.
One of the sites monitored, Duxbury Reef, located in Bolinas, has been designated as an Area of Special Biological Significance by the State Water Board and was also classified as a State Water Quality Protection Area. The protected designation of this area truly emphasizes the importance of garnering community involvement to maintain a healthy environment.
The Sanctuary volunteers greet each annual Snapshot Day with great enthusiasm and delight in working with the Coastal Watershed Council and Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary. Bolstering community involvement and educating our active participants in marine research embodies a major part of the Sanctuary’s philosophy. The newly minted volunteers are already looking forward to next year’s event, ready to show off their scientific strut!
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