WREC
Monday
Jan232017

WREC is Hiring - Resource Specialist - Applications due February 10th

Email cover letter, resume, relevant work sample and three references to: Sara Peel, Watershed Program Director at speel@wabashriver.net by February 10th for consideration. Applications will be accepted until a qualified candidate is identified.

JOB DESCRIPTION: Resource Specialist

SUMMARY: The Resources Specialist will have working knowledge of water resources management and serve as an advocate for the Wabash River and the Wabash River Enhancement Corporation’s (WREC) efforts to improve economic, environmental, and quality of life conditions within the Wabash River Corridor and its watershed. The ideal candidate is passionate about the Wabash River and WREC’s efforts on its behalf. We are looking for an outstanding communicator with excellent writing and speaking skills and an interest in engaging community members and volunteers.

ESSENTIAL FUNCTIONS:

  • Promote WREC and partner activities at volunteer events, workshops, county fairs and other education and outreach activities. 
  • Encourage adoption of urban and agricultural conservation best management practices, assist with the management of the program to implement practices and complete field documentation of installed best management practices. 
  • Develop, coordinate, and participate in volunteer and educational events, such as site maintenance of installed best management practices, the Wabash Sampling Blitz, the Green Tour, and other events as required.
  • Coordinate sponsorship, marketing, and engagement functions for Wabash Riverfest. 
  • Promote WREC and partner activities and translate our technical efforts to the public via social and traditional media, including updates to existing WREC websites (www.wabashriver.net, www.tippeonow.com, www.WabashRiverfest.com), the WREC blog and monthly WREC e-newsletters as well as writing news releases, updating brochures and materials as needed. 
  • Assist the Executive Director as needed to plan and implement enhancement of the Wabash River Corridor, including but not limited to, project research, meeting support and education and outreach facilitation.

POSITION REQUIREMENTS/QUALIFICATIONS:

  • Position requires initiative, resourcefulness and experience as a self-starter.
  • Working knowledge of water resources management, the Wabash River ecological system specifically and agricultural and urban conservation best management practices and an interest in working with Purdue University students and community residents to design and implement these practices.
  • Experience working with and engaging community leaders, volunteers and individuals from diverse backgrounds to plan and facilitate community education and outreach events.
  • Excellent organizational and public speaking skills, strong interpersonal, written and oral communication skills.
  • The ability to work with others and manage multiple tasks with minimal supervision.
  • Knowledge of Microsoft Office, ArcGIS, publishing software, database and spreadsheet software.
  • Hold valid Indiana State driver’s license and able to provide own transportation.

SALARY AND POSITION DETAILS: The Resource Specialist serves under the WREC Executive Director. This is a part time position averaging up to 25 hours/week and does not include benefits. The position will entail some weekend and evening work commitments. The selected candidate must pass a background check prior to being hired. 

Thursday
Oct062016

Wabash Sampling Blitz - Sampling through Rain and Thunder 

Through rain and rumbles of thunder, 212 volunteers braved the weather to partake in the 8th annual Fall Region of the Great Bend of the Wabash River Sampling Blitz on Friday, September 16, 2016.

Blitz at a Glance

Volunteers work in groups and are assigned to various streams in the watershed. Equipped with bottles for sampling, thermometers, and tubes to test transparency of the water, volunteers head to sampling sites to take their samples. Once they have collected the data and water samples, volunteers test their samples at the staging location. Testing strips are used to test the water samples for pH, orthophosphate and nitrate/nitrite levels. The data that comes from those samples is used to identify specific locations with problematic water quality.

Doug Jones measures water transparency during the Fall 2016 Blitz.  

The Data: Comparing Fall 2016 to Fall 2015

Orthophosphate levels were significantly higher in the fall of 2016 when compared to last fall’s data. In the fall of 2015, nearly the entire watershed was rated ‘good’ at a levels of 1 ppm or lower. This fall the majority of the watershed was rated ‘poor’ with an orthophosphate levels of over 5 ppm.

Nitrate and nitrite levels were also higher this fall than the previous year. In the fall of 2015, the watershed was almost entirely rated with ‘good’ or ‘fair’ levels of nitrate and nitrite. This fall there were many areas with ‘poor’ levels of over 10 ppm, especially in the northern portion of the watershed.

 

 

Why the difference?

The fall of 2015 sampling blitz occurred after little rainfall – less an 0.1” occurred within 15 days of the event – while the 2016 blitz occurred as the rain was flying! These higher than normal results reflect the flashy nature of some of streams – when it rains, nutrients and sediment from each sites drainage area flows into the stream. More rain typically results in higher instream nutrient concentrations.

Why does it matter?

Orthophosphate is a form of phosphorus, which is a naturally occurring nutrient. When found in high concentrations in water it can lead to excessive algae growth, deceased oxygen levels, and poor aquatic habitat. Take a look at the hypoxia in the Gulf of Mexico or the algal bloom in Lake Erie.

Nitrate and Nitrite are both also a form of naturally occurring nutrient, nitrogen. When found in high concentrations, they can be dangerous to children and pregnant women. The state water quality standards have been exceeded in portions of our watershed with water samples testing over 10 ppm.

Want to help?

Interested in volunteering for the blitz next spring? Stay tuned for the date and link to register on the Wabash River Enhancement Corporation’s Facebook page or on the sampling blitz page.

Want to volunteer for WREC sooner? Check out a list of volunteer dates.

Written and posted by: Cheyenne Hoffa. Cheyenne Hoffa, Agricultural Communication senior at Purdue University with a passion for the environment and sustainability.

Tuesday
May102016

Purdue Students Team with WREC to Improve Wabash River

Purdue students and volunteers plant a bioswale at the new Food Resource & Education Center.Purdue students enrolled in this spring’s Urban Water Projects class (EEE 495) successfully implemented three stormwater management projects with community partners and support from the Wabash River Enhancement Corporation (WREC). Stormwater is rainfall that collects on paved surfaces and rooftops, and typically runs into storm sewers.  It carries pollutants to rivers, lakes, and streams, reducing their ability to support plant and animal life. As part of the class, the students and community partners identified stormwater management problems, co-designed solutions, wrote grants to fund the projects, budgeted expenses, and evaluated impacts. The students then teamed with volunteers to install rain gardens, bioswales, rain barrels, and native plantings that will capture and clean stormwater at the City of Lafayette’s Fire Station 8, Food Finders Food Bank’s new Food Resource & Education Center, and Christ United Methodist Church. “This project was more than just textbooks and exams; we were a part of a project we got to see through from beginning to end and it was a very rewarding experience all around,” stated Alysha Helmrich, a Purdue Environmental and Ecological Engineering student and member of the design team for the Fire Station.

Purdue students and City of Lafayette staff install a rain garden at Fire Station 8.Rain gardens are low, bowl-shaped areas with plants that can live in standing water for up to 24 hours.  They collect stormwater and allow it to slowly soak into the ground where pollutants are removed from the water.  Bioswales are similar to rain gardens, but tend to be long and narrow, collecting stormwater from paved areas.  Rain barrels collect water from roof downspouts and can be used to water nearby plantings.  Native plants are used in stormwater plantings because their root systems encourage water to soak into the ground, they take up nutrients, and they support wildlife including butterflies, birds, and insects.

Volunteers install native plants at Christ United Methodist Church.The projects’ plantings and rain barrels were located to collect stormwater from parking lots and rooftops, and force it to soak into the ground. This will prevent fertilizer and sediment from flowing to the Wabash River. WREC provided 75 percent of design and implementation costs via their cost share program (www.wabashriver.net/costshare). The finished projects included signage explaining the plantings and how they will help the river.

Sediment, nitrogen, and phosphorous are the most significant pollutants in the Wabash River.  And rainwater entering older combined sewers can push raw sewage into the river during rain storms.  Stormwater management projects that qualify for WREC’s Urban Cost Share Program funding can reduce the amount of pollutants and sewage entering the river.  Learn more about WREC’s efforts to improve the Wabash River, and how you can schedule an appointment to discuss your water quality and quantity concerns at www.wabashriver.net.

Posted by Don Staley, ASLA, LEED AP: Don is a landscape architect and program manager with the Wabash River Enhancement Corporation.  Previously, he led stormwater management efforts at Purdue University where he was Senior Landscape Architect for 11 years.

Monday
May022016

Northern Reach Final Presentation

Tuesday
Jan192016

WREC By the NUMBERS!

We will be starting off our annual WREC by the numbers with the number 1! This year, we replaced 1 acre of turf with native plants and are working to install 1 bioreactor – which will hopefully be all set for the holidays. Stay tuned to learn about more 2015 accomplishments.


1...2...3! We installed 3 rain gardens this year, and not only are they beautiful but they help reduce runoff by allowing rain water to have a chance to soak into the ground. This brings out local total to 81 rain gardens!


Little by little more landowners are joining WREC in our mission to improve the Wabash Corridor - this year we had 50 landowners implementing conservation practices! Check out this turf to praire project that is in its third year.


Curious as to what some of our projects are all about - join us at a field day or on a green tour? In 2015, 223 individuals participated in our tours and field days!


335. Rain barrel sales are the on rise! Over the past four years we have managed to save 1,546,900 gallons of water as the number of rain barrels in the community continues to rise – this year, 335 rain barrels joined 663 previously purchased barrels bringing our total to nearly 1,000 rain barrels!


We had 414 visitors at the Paint the Rain Gallery to check out the 38 beautiful rain barrels painted by community members! Not only do they help conserve water, but they look amazing too. Can’t wait to see next year’s emerging artists.


The number today is 5,500. That represents the number of Wabash Riverfest attendees this year. Between the Water Droplet Kids’ Run, face painting, the Voyager Canoe Races and other exciting events, what’s not to love about Riverfest?!?


Hold on to your hats ladies and gentlemen, these numbers just keep getting bigger - 8,007! That is the number of acres of cover crop installed across all of our agricultural projects. And look how green they are in December!


Our last numbers for 2015 is very exciting for us to share with all of you. One of our major overall goals is improved water quality in the Wabash River. This year, we made HUGE leaps toward that goal by removing 9,000 tons of sediment, 39,700 lbs of phosphorus and 67,600 lbs of nitrogen! Have an amazing New Year and be sure to check back with us in 2016 to learn more about our efforts to keep the Wabash River looking good!