Our Role

Initially, the Freshwater Institute surveyed the properties surrounding each of the springs, and conducted an assessment of the physical, chemical and biological characteristics of each spring, including an extensive water quality assessment looking at many parameters, some of which included:

• Dissolved Oxygen
• pH
• Total Alkalinity
• Fecal Coliforms
• Carbon Dioxide
• Total Nitrogen
• Total Phosphorus
• Chloride
• Sulfate
• Metals: Total and Dissolved

Today, the Freshwater Institute continues to collect long-term water quality and environmental data and monitor the overall health of these environments.

Why This Project Matters

In 2015, findings included evidence of human encroachment on some of the sites, as well as a slight change in water quality and metals parameters compared to previous years’ findings. Though these didn’t indicate a significant decrease in water quality or environmental health, these slight changes demonstrate the importance of continuing to monitor water quality on a long-term basis.

This baseline information collected is contributing to an open access, long-term database that is available to fellow researchers, federal agencies, state and local governments, and local stakeholders through EPA-sponsored data management websites. Access to this data—which is available on the Water Quality Portal sponsored by the U.S. Geological Survey, the Environmental Protection Agency and the National Water Quality Monitoring Council—will allow for further research into the impact of long-term climate change, extreme weather events and human activities on the health of these springs and their associated streams and watersheds.