April 19 & 20, 2024
Wabash Sampling Blitz
Since the fall of 2009, volunteers throughout the Region of the Great Bend of the Wabash River watershed complete a snapshot assessment of water quality throughout the watershed. In the spring of 2011, we expanded to include sample sites within the Wildcat Creek watershed. Volunteers monitor temperature, water cloudiness (turbidity), nutrient levels, and bacteria concentrations.
How Monitoring Works?
Each volunteer group is assigned to a staging or starting location. Staging locations are assigned as sampling slots are available on a first volunteer, first assigned basis. Arrive with your partners to pick up supplies for an assigned group of sampling sites. Sites vary in access difficulty ranging from easy access (walk right in sites) to where you’ll need to channel your inner mountain goat (difficult). You will be provided with sampling supplies: all sample collection equipment and instructions, maps, and driving directions. We will not provide you with dry clothes, bug spray, ivy off, or food. We do have a limited amount of waders to lend, so if you do not own any waders or boots, please provide your information on the signup form to borrow some!
Don your waders or knee boots and spend approximately two and a half hours wading four stream sample sites. At each site, you will need to identify an appropriate access point. After entering the stream, wade to the center and fill your provided sample bottles. Then, measure stream temperature and water clarity with the provided thermometer and transparency tube. Once complete, measure water quality with provided test strips, photograph the stream and any unique or interesting features, then travel to your next site. Once you’ve sampled all of your streams, return to your staging location to turn in your supplies and water samples.
Want to Volunteer?
Volunteers wanting to participate should have a partner volunteer with them. If you are an experience Blitz sampler, you can sign up to sample alone if you are comfortable doing so. Volunteers must have their own form of transportation. Since you will be traveling in a car to streams, it’s best for you to partner with someone you are comfortable having close contact with, such as a colleague, family member, roommate, or classmate. We will not pair strangers together unless both people are comfortable with that, so it’s recommended you sign up with a partner you know. If your partner requests that you both wear masks in the car, please do so to keep everyone safe and comfortable! We will have cloth masks available at the check-in.
We have 5 sampling instruction training videos (above) that you must watch before the blitz. Sampling supplies will be organized, labeled, and spaced out at the staging locations so that volunteers can quickly, easily, and without contact pick up their assigned supplies.
Volunteers then go out to streams, collect samples, test the samples with the test strips, return supplies at staging location without contact to other volunteers or staff. A staff member will be at each staging location in case you have any questions or any issues arise.
The sampling blitz will happen over two days- Friday and Saturday. Volunteers can pick the day that works best for their schedule, and chose whether they want to sample in the morning or afternoon. Volunteers can expect this event to take about 3 hours (including supply pick up, sampling, supply drop off) and should schedule accordingly. Sampling can take place in the morning or afternoon, but the equipment needs to be returned by 5pm. The earliest you can pick up supplies is 9am and the latest you can pick up sampling supplies is 2:00pm. The earlier you can arrive, the better. All Friday samplers will pick up supplies at the Lily Nature Center at the Celery Bog (1620 Lindberg Rd, West Lafayette). All Saturday Samplers will pick up supplies at the Tippecanoe Soil and Water Conservation District/USDA parking lot (1812 Troxel Dr, Lafayette).
Sample results are presented on a subwatershed basis. This means that the entire land area that drains to the sample point is shown on each map. Further review of the data will allow WREC and our project partners to identify specific locations where water quality problems might be located. The Blitz began collecting Region of the Great Bend sample results in the fall of 2009. Wildcat Creek sampling results have been collected since the spring of 2011.