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Region of the Great Bend Fall 2016 Sample Results

Volunteers braved intermittant rain to sample Region of the Great Bend stream sites on Friday, September 16th between 2:00 and 5:00 p.m. Here are the results of their efforts. 


Temperature - Samplers measured temperature in the field directly from the streams at the time of sample collection. Temperature is an important parameter as it is the regulator for aquatic communities - all plankton, bug, and fish species have a preferred temperature. Temperature also controls the amount of dissolved oxygen present in the water - cooler water temperatures hold more dissolved oxygen. Finally, temperature controls the rate at which chemical reactions occur, such as the conversion of nitrate-nitrogen to ammonia-nitrogen. Higher temperatures are shown in red and cooler temperatures are shown in green. Several factors affect temperature including riparian buffers or shading, watershed inputs, and surrounding land uses.


pH - Samplers measured pH from collected water samples when they returned to the staging locations. Water pH is a measure of the volume of hydrogen ion available in the water. Water pH determines the solubility and biological availability of chemicals and nutrients such as nitrogen and phosphorus, and metals like copper or lead. Typical pH levels in streams measure between 6.5 and 8.5 and are indicative of the geological materials in the drainage area. Additionally, the amount of photosynthesis occurring in the streams can affect their pH levels. Higher pH levels are shown in red, while lower pH levels are displayed in yellow, and ideal pH levels are shown in green.


Transparency - Water transparency was not analyzed during this sampling blitz.


Orthophosphate - Phosphorus is typically the nutrient that limits productivity in aquatic communities. Phosphorus can be measured in many forms including orthophosphate or soluble reactive phosphorus. This form of phosphorus is soluble, organic, and readily available. Higher phosphorus concentrations typically lead to higher levels of productivity. This can increase concentrations of algae or plants, which can result in decreased dissolved oxygen concentrations, taste and odor problems, and poor habitat for aquatic communities.


Nitrate + Nitrite - Two forms of nitrogen, nitrate and nitrite, represent the available nitrogen in an aquatic system. Nitrogen is also available in the atmosphere and can move from the air into the water by nitrogen-fixers. Nitrogen can readily convert between different forms, especially nitrate and nitrite. Conversion to and from ammonia also occurs when dissolved oxygen is available in the system (see Temperature, above). Total nitrogen concentrations are displayed with red representing higher concentrations and green representing lower concentrations. Nitrate concentrations measuring higher than 2 ppm can inhibit aquatic communities. Concentrations higher than 10 ppm violate the state water quality standards.