Citizen Science Brown Bag

Engaging Citizen Scientists along the Santa Cruz River: A Stormwater Pollution Contribution Study

Pima County Regional Flood Control District Monthly Brown Bag Series

  • Speaker: Natalie Brassill, M.S., UA Water Quality Extension and Research
  • Date/Time: February 9, 12–1 PM
  • Location: 201 North Stone Ave, 9th Floor

The Santa Cruz River is currently classified as “impaired” downstream of the confluence with the Canada Del Oro with the bacteria E.coli, which has exceeded water quality limits since the late 1990s. In an effort to reduce pollution within the watershed, ADEQ and the EPA have collaborated with the UA to develop local volunteer water quality monitoring programs. Volunteer programs can be an extremely valuable asset to states’ water quality monitoring by expanding data collection efforts and resource assessment opportunities. Volunteer-collected data can also provide important baseline information to assist with decision-making and resource assessment.

This project seeks to encourage collaborative efforts by individuals, partnerships, organizations, and businesses to protect, enhance, and monitor the health of the Santa Cruz River. Since February 2015, citizen scientists have collected and analyzed stormwater samples during rain events along the Santa Cruz River and within its surrounding watershed. Water quality data has been collected since 2015 and will continue to be collected into 2018. This information helps to identify potential pollution contribution sources and will lead to better management solutions for the Santa Cruz River and it’s tributaries. The collaboration between Santa Cruz County citizens, UA, and ADEQ will allow trained citizen scientists to conduct boots-on-the-ground research along the Santa Cruz River and its tributaries. Information collected by local volunteers will be used as a basis for a watershed implementation plan that will outline specific pollution sources and also detail solution best management practices.

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