Water Quality

A High Definition Stream Survey will collect water quality data over an entire stream corridor

The traditional method of collecting water samples at a few locations in a stream corridor may indicate a problem exists but does not tell you why. The HDSS technique can collect samples at any frequency required over entire corridor stretches while simultaneously recording video and many other types of data. The ability to tie visual stream features with water quality trends makes it much easier and faster to identify areas where Best Management Practices (BMPs) can and should be applied to enhance stream health.

Our Methodology

Trutta’s HDSS methodology provides not only a much more thorough analysis of water quality (100% of the survey area, not randomly selected or just easily accessible spots), but also enables root cause analysis of water quality issues throughout a stream system. In short, HDSS can reveal changes in water quality that would likely not be revealed by relying on traditional sampling methods.  For example, the algae blooms in Figure 2 below are an indication of too much nutrient runoff, as compared to healthy conditions just upstream (Figure 1).  Traditional water quality samples taken short distances above or below this algae bloom would miss the fact that a dry swale (Figure 1, bottom right panel ) is obviously washing nutrients into the stream at high flow. 

Figure 1: Dry swale on right side streambank entering an algae-free stream segment.
Figure 2. Just downstream of Figure 1. A bloom of filamentous algae is observed on the stream bottom.
Continuous water quality sampling at the confluence of the New River and Clear Creek, TN. The plot of water conductivity shows a marked difference in conductivity coming from the different water sources.
Map showing how specific conductivity increased downstream from a creek confluence on Falling Water River in TN. Red dots indicate where kayaks were portaged over large log jams. Combining the water quality results with the HDSS video allows anomalies such as these to be easily understood.