Mashpee High School, Mashpee, Massachusetts
Mashpee High School Environmental Science students
The Mashpee River is a short river, flowing only 5 miles before becoming tidal and draining into Popponesset Bay. In order to determine the overall water quality of our river, we ran tests on its levels of dissolved oxygen, BOD, temperature, pH, nitrates, phosphates, turbidity, and the presence of macroinvertebrates. A low level of dissolved oxygen is a sign of pollution, but our levels were better than ideal. Healthy pH levels for most fish fall between the values 5 and 9. Our pH levels were measured at around 6, well within the healthy range. Our river also maintained stable temperatures, consistently falling between 5 degrees Celsius and 25 degrees Celsius. On the other hand, our test for levels of biodegradable waste revealed that our waters were moderately clean to somewhat polluted in areas. Nitrates, which are crucial to the survival of organisms, become lethal when reduced to nitrites and they can cause accelerated eutrophication. Our nitrate levels were fair. We tested phosphates as well, which can enter the water from sources such as fertilizers and detergents, and discovered that our river had an average of 0.3mg/L of phosphates. Turbidity, or the measure of particulates in the water, was at low levels in our river. The water quality index, or cumulative analysis of the overall quality of the water based on several contributing factors, for the Mashpee River is average for the headwaters and good for the conservation area. We studied macroinvertebrates, because from the levels of pollution intolerant species present in an area, we can tell the overall quality of the water. Present in the Mashpee River, we found higher levels of intolerant species than tolerant species, which tells us that the water quality is very habitable. From our data, we were happy to conclude that the overall water quality is safe for all organisms currently inhabiting the Mashpee River.
Respectfully Submitted for MHS,
Mashpee High School, Mashpee, Massachusetts (2010). The Mashpee River: Water Quality Index & Macroinvertebrates. In Watershed Access Lab Projects. Project 92.
Available at: http://vc.bridgew.edu/wal_projects/92
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