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USGS Real-Time Water-Quality Watch

Illustration: USGS WaterQualityWatch

The USGS offers a series of interactive, data-driven web pages that provide continuous, real-time access to a wide variety of information including water quality, stream flow, sediment conditions, and ground water levels across the US. Data are driven to the web from over 2000 sites across the country, from trickling streams to raging rivers.

Of particular interest are the water-quality maps, which display nutrient data that can be related to chlorophyll or dissolved oxygen concentrations. Looking at the real-time nitrate map, one can quickly see where the highest concentrations of nitrate are and how the levels vary by region. The map also demonstrates that while some parts of the country have good data coverage, vast areas are not monitored and water quality remains a mystery. For more on the interactive maps, please visit: USGS WaterQualityWatch.


Nutrient Loading in the River Thames

: :Dr Mike Bowes.. Centre for Ecology & Hydrology, Wallingford



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Phosphate is a key nutrient for aquatic plants and animals, it is also however a pollutant when it occurs in excessive quantities. Agricultural runoff and treated wastewater can increase phosphate levels in waterways, stimulating the growth of algae, potentially causing blooms. Algal blooms reduce light for other aquatic plants and can lead to dangerously low oxygen concentrations when the bloom eventually crashes. Such is the case on the River Thames in the UK, which, like many rivers worldwide, is under pressure from large urban populations, upstream agricultural practices, and ever increasing temperatures. Scientists have historically studied the river by taking monthly or weekly samples, getting only a glimpse of the water-quality picture and missing out on large, periodic fluctuations caused by constantly changing run-off conditions.

Scientists have recently started to employ high-frequency, in situ instruments, such as the HydroCycle PO4 sensor, to monitor the river's water quality on an hourly basis, 24/7. This much finer sampling resolution is making possible new insights into both the level and timing of nutrient loading and has uncovered what have been termed "nutrient hysteresis loops" associated with storm events.

For more, please see the recent work of Dr. Mike Bowes of the Centre for Ecology & Hydrology entitled, High-frequency water quality monitoring of UK rivers [PDF]. 

From Characterising phosphorus and nitrate inputs to a rural river using high-frequency concentration-flow relationships, M.J.Bowes et al., Science of the Total Environment No. 511, pp 608-620, 2015.


Sea-Bird Scientific at Ocean Business 17

Sea-Bird Scientific is exhibiting at Ocean Business in Southampton, UK this week. If you are attending the conference, do plan to visit Stand L9 for a peek at our newest technology and best sellers. Members of our Science, Product Management, Sales, and Marketing teams will be eager to answer your questions. We are also hosting a variety of focused training sessions on key application areas. Topics for this year's line-up of training sessions include:

All Sea-Bird Scientific training sessions will be conducted in the Ray Beverton Room 044/11. Please Contact Us if you are interested in any of these sessions or if you would like to set up meetings with any of our team members at the conference.


New UCI 1.2 Software Released

Sea-Bird Scientific has just released UCI 1.2 for HydroCAT, HydroCAT-EP, SUNA, and Deep SUNA, which delivers nearly forty new features, improvements, and bug fixes.

In addition to supporting Windows 7/8/10, this release also brings UCI to the Apple Mac OS X / macOS platform.

UCI now fully supports both SUNA and Deep SUNA. We encourage everyone to migrate from SUNACom to UCI 1.2 or greater. Watch for future UCI updates to include additional products such as SeaFETTM, SeapHOxTM, and more.


Tech Tip: Keep Good Data Coming from Your HydroCycle PO4

Sediment buildup can clog the filters of the HydroCycle PO4 and compromise the quality of the data collected. The filter life is about 1500 samples, but in high-sediment conditions the filters may need to be replaced more often. To keep collecting good quality data, use the built-in QC function of the HydroCycle software to help determine when it’s time to change the filters in the sensor. Follow the steps in the user manual to remove and install a new filter - it takes just a few minutes.

Download the HydroCycle PO4 User Manual [PDF]

Photo: Colin Peake, Illinois Nutrient Monitoring Network - Continuous Phosphate and Turbidity Monitoring to Determine Continuous Total Phosphate Loads.


Meet Our People
Gary Morast
Service Manager, Bellevue

PhotoGary joined Sea-Bird as a Final Test Technician in 1995 after graduating with an AAS in Electrical Engineering from IIT Technical Institute.

Gary’s current role as Service Manager for Sea-Bird Scientific includes responsibilities for equipment service at the Bellevue, Philomath, and Kempten facilities. Prior to this, he held roles of Final Test Technician, Calibration Technician, Service Technician, Technical Support, Service Lead, and Service Supervisor with Sea-Bird.

Gary is a father of two wonderful boys, Ryan and Cody, who both play sports and are in their school’s concert choir. Besides serving Sea-Bird customers, Gary enjoys traveling, going to sporting events, and mountain biking.



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