Mashpee High School, Mashpee, Massachusetts
Brianna Huard, Rachel Owen, Lizzie Sardinha, and Jasmine McCall
Students from Mashpee High School have been studying water quality of local rivers for a number of years. In the past, the primary focus was on two rivers that flow through the town: the Quashnet River, and Quaker Run. This school year (2006-07) the Mashpee River was added as the third watershed of interest. Each of three Earth Science classes adopted and studied one of the rivers. Students sampled each stream at headwaters and lower reaches for: macroinvertebrates, water chemistry (temperature, pH, dissolved oxygen, nitrates, and turbidity) and stream flow (velocity and volume). Data were analyzed, and PowerPoint presentations were generated. Students and instructors then identified one presentation from each class to represent findings in a workshop hosted by Bridgewater State College’s Watershed Access Lab (WAL). The select PowerPoint presentations are available for viewing through the WAL.
Several interesting results emerged from the three studies. First, when considering the macroinvertebrate data, only the Mashpee River supported sufficient numbers of sensitive species to produce biological indices typical of a healthy, resilient river system. Additionally, the Mashpee River supported the highest relative abundance of water quality sensitive macroinvertebrates. The Mashpee is the only river of the three that, along the reaches sampled, is not used for cranberry production, and does not have an active turf management program associated with a golf course adjacent to its banks. Another interesting finding is that all three rivers had nitrate concentrations below the 5 ppm threshold identified by the Cape Cod Commission as problematic for water bodies of the Cape. Additional and more concentrated research will help us understand the significance of those early observations.
Mashpee High School, Mashpee, Massachusetts (2006). Water Quality Project: Mashpee River Study. In Watershed Access Lab Projects. Project 52.
Available at: http://vc.bridgew.edu/wal_projects/52
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