Having clean water that supports aquatic life and numerous human uses is extremely important. We sample water quality in several ways. We can collect bottle samples for complete analysis in a testing laboratory and we can deploy spot samplers to document water quality at a specific location over time. The most common way we sample water quality is as part of our HDSS approach. A water quality sensor continuously collects data during our long surveys and the resulting data provides a unique view of water quality throughout the stream system (Figure 1).
We also see changes in water quality that are not recorded by the water quality sensor. Below, we see a dry swale entering the stream (Figure 3). The bottom of the stream is algae free at this location, but just downstream (Figure 4), there is a large bloom of green algae in the stream. This situation is caused by too many nutrients being washed into the stream at high flow and would be an excellent place for some Best Management Practices (BMPs) to be applied to decrease the nutrient runoff.