Apponequet Regional High School, Lakeville, Massachusetts
Mark Logan, Allison Nassr, Courtney Petrouski, Matthew Brown, Rachel Gupte, Anne Araujo, Katelyn Laperriere, Katrina McIsaac
Assonet River has a stream order of three, with tributaries including Cedar Swamp and Holloway Brook. The sub-basin area of the river is around 29.8 square miles and is part of the Taunton River Watershed. The land use of the surrounding area is largely domestic, ranging from low density to high density housing. The Assonet River is used for canoeing, fishing, swimming, boating and other forms of aquatic recreation. The river runs closely along the main transportation routes 140 and 79. The river has four dams, which alter the turbidity and flow. Historically, these dams were used to power mills. The four sites we used in our experiment started at the headwaters with Beechwood/Rte 79, followed by Forge Road, Locust Street and Truck Bridge.
Overall the water quality of the river is average: pH is low, DO is high , and our values for the nitrogen and reactive phosphorus are to relatively close to the levels in other rivers of our area. At Beechwood, the upstream site, there is a good riparian corridor and relatively few houses near the site. As the river travels into downtown at Truck Bridge there is less vegetation and more possible areas that could contribute to the foam.
Our investigation tried to determine the origin and effects of the foam that is frequently seen on Assonet River. We interviewed residents and observed the foam during the course of the school year. We measured nutrients, pH, DO, and temperature. The nutrients, nitrogen/nitrate and reactive phosphorus, were within normal range for warm water fisheries. DO and temperature followed normal seasonal values both upstream and downstream. The pH of Assonet River is acidic (average 4.5) possibly due to the fact that it drains wetlands. This is consistent with other streams that drain wetlands in Freetown/Lakeville.
The source of the foam appears to be organic decomposition products from the wetlands upstream of Beechwood/Rte 79. This, in conjunctions with high turbulence at the falls below each dam, produces foam. Though the foam appears white at the headwaters, it gradually takes on a brown hue indicative of “good” foam by the time it reaches Locust St.
Apponequet Regional High School, Lakeville, Massachusetts (2004). Assonet River: Foaming at the Mouth. In Watershed Access Lab Projects. Project 5.
Available at: http://vc.bridgew.edu/wal_projects/5
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