Do you live on the Winnicut River, or one of its brooks or streams? Would you like to learn how to have a "better backyard," or be a steward for wildlife? Do you enjoy birding, kayaking, or trail walking? Have you got Invasive Plant Problems? Would you like to learn more about the Winnicut River and its wildlife diversity, from its treefrogs and trout lilies, to its black bears and white cedars? If you can answer 'yes' to any of the above, we need YOU. The WRWC is working hard to develop a Better Backyard campaign which promises to be a rewarding program for land/homeowners interested in protecting the integrity of the Winnicut River, its streams and brooks, and ultimately Great Bay, and the wildlife that lives and breeds here. E-mail us today to learn more at

Friday, July 22, 2011

VRAP Sampling - July 20, 2011

Ten newly trained citizen scientist volunteers began collecting water samples and testing for potential problems in the Winnicut River and some of its tributaries early Wednesday morning, starting with an area in North Hampton where the Winnicut River primarily begins (near the former town dump on South '21-WNC' on the 'Sampling Stations' map at end of this post).

Using special meters to gauge the level of the river's health, volunteers tested for conditions such as turbidity, pH, temperature, dissolved oxygen and specific conductance--all of which are described in the article "...Water Quality Parameters..." under the heading 'Pages' in the right-hand column.  At several sites bacteria (E. coli) and nutrient samples (nitrogen, phosphorus, chlorides) were also collected, which were delivered to a state laboratory for analysis immediately following the morning's end.  All results will be made available as soon as the sampling season is complete, some time in late October.

The WRWC will conduct this sampling regime next spring and summer as well, thereby increasing the amount of relevant information available to local, state and federal governments for making smarter land-use decisions and planning better protection of our river and streams.  In turn, these steps can improve community vitality (not to mention improve wildlife habitat!).

These volunteers are making a difference!  Left to right: Nate Hazen (Greenland), Kathy Grant (No. Hampton), Lisa Tutinas (No. Hampton), Brenda Tharp (No. Hampton) and Wendy Crowley (No. Hampton) begin reviewing sampling protocols at the day's first sampling site.

We welcome youths!  Junior High School student Petras Tutinas (No. Hampton) "grabs" the first sample of the day at a culvert crossing just west of North Hampton's former town dump.  Volunteer Danna Truslow (Rye), a surface water and groundwater hydrologist by trade, looks on.

Attention to detail is a must!  Nate, Brenda and Petras conduct a pH measurement at the first sampling site, while WRWC Project Director Jean Eno follows up on meter protocols.

Easy access is nice!  Sampling site #2 ('20-WNC' on map) in North Hampton on Rte 111 (formerly 101D) is just slightly north of first site.  This site had little to no flow and thus ruled out sampling for E.coli.  Additionally, evidence of waterfowl feces was quite apparent on the turf immediately surrounding this culvert area, so odds were the E.coli sample would have been skewed accordingly.   

Accurate readings don't always happen the first time!  Kathy and Lisa have their patience tested while conducting turbidity measurements at the Norton Brook sampling site, 06-NOB, in Greenland.  Norton Brook's headwaters (where the brook originates) have recently been completely surrounded by new residential (single-lot) development.  Turbidity readings can let us know if soil disturbance such as erosion is of concern. 

Pictures by volunteers Danna Truslow and Brenda Tharp.  Missing from photos: volunteers Rick Mauer and son, Grant, from Greenland.

Click on map to open in new screen, and then click again to enlarge further.

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