Water Monitoring of Spa Creek Continues
Over the summer, the Chesapeake BaySavers partnered with the Spa Creek Conservancy to begin water monitoring along different areas of Spa Creek in Annapolis. We began this project in order to determine if the water was safe to swim in, and if it is not, find the reasoning behind it and how we can fix it. The test sites began at the headwaters and ended in the mouth, the sites were: South Cherry Grove, The Chesapeake Children’s Museum, Hawkins Cove, Capital SUP and Ego Ally. We tested the temperature of the water, salinity, conductivity, secchi depth, dissolved oxygen, pH, total suspended solids, chlorophyll A, nitrogen and phosphorus, as well as enterococci.
When we began water testing on Thursday, June 9 th and we were astonished how different the data was at the different sites in the creek. It was found at the headwater sites of South Cherry Grove and The Chesapeake Children’s Museum were not swimmable due to the high readings of Enterococci and continues to be the case all summer. Hawkins Cove level of Enterococci was dependent on whether we received a lot of rain in the days leading up to our testing day or if it had been dry. This was similar to the results we received at Capital SUP, if it had not rained then the levels were low and showed that the water was safe to swim in; however, after heavy rainfall the levels were high stating that the water was not safe to swim in. Surprisingly, Ego Ally showed very low levels of Enterococci even after days of heavy rain meaning it is always safe to swim in. We believe that these results are due to the movement of water. At the headwaters, the only water feeding into the area is storm water runoff which consists of animal fecal matter, pesticides, trash, etc. and it doesn’t get and fresh water into it. At the mouth of Spa Creek, you find much more circulation of water between Spa Creek and the Severn River which results in dilution of bad chemicals and other factors that would cause the water to be un-swimmable.
After completing a summer of water monitoring, we have decided to continue monitoring weekly through the month of September and then bi-weekly starting in October. The Chesapeake BaySavers are going to continue to partner with the Spa Creek Conservancy on grants to restore the areas in the Spa Creek Watershed to limit the amount of storm water runoff that is impacting our beautiful Spa Creek which ultimately impacts the Chesapeake Bay. This is a small but necessary step to restoring the Chesapeake Bay for future generations to come!
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To see a guide to water quality terms, please click here: WATER QUALITY TERMS
If you would like to see the data that has been collected, please click here: 11-10-16