Center for Coastal Studies expands water quality monitoring program
Friday, April 11, 2014
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
Center for Coastal Studies contact:
The Center for Coastal Studies (CCS) has been awarded a contract by Barnstable County to continue and expand its water quality monitoring research in Nantucket Sound and its associated embayments.
The Center will conduct sampling and testing at nine locations within Nantucket Sound and an additional 35 stations within the bays, creeks and ponds that empty into the Sound. Many of the sampling stations selected for the study were identified by the Massachusets Estuaries Project as sentinel stations; a location chosen for monitoring at which it is assumed that the conditions there reflect the conditions of the whole system. For the sentinel stations identified by the MEP studies, MEP makes the assumption that, by meeting water quality standards at these stations, the water quality goals will be met throughout the entire bay/pond/creek.
At each station, researchers will measure temperature, salinity and dissolved oxygen levels; water samples will be collected and analyzed at the Center’s state-certified laboratory for key indicators of environmental health such as nitrogen, phosphorus, chlorophyll and turbidity. This will provide baseline data on the composition and variation in these waters that will ultimately allow scientists and decision makers to track changes, analyze trends, and evaluate the overall condition of Nantucket Sound.
This data will increase understanding of how human activities and management actions affect water bodies; this information will be instrumental to future wastewater planning initiatives and, even more importantly, can be used by towns, Cape Cod regional authorities and federal and state agencies to identify and address coastal water quality problems before conditions worsen.
Barnstable County and the Center also anticipate that this program will increase public awareness of the importance of preserving water quality and the actions individuals can take to help eliminate pollution.
The Center for Coastal Studies has extensive experience in coastal water quality monitoring; now in its ninth year, the Center conducts the longest-running and only Bay-wide monitoring program in Cape Cod Bay. Between 2010 and 2013, Center scientists collected samples for analysis for contaminants of emerging concern (CECs) including pharmaceuticals, personal care products, and hormones, with funding from the Massachusetts Bays Program and the Massachusetts Environmental Trust. CECs were detected in nearshore and offshore waters of both Cape Cod Bay and Nantucket Sound. These are the first studies to document the presence of CECs in the marine and estuarine waters of Massachusetts and demonstrate a link to other water quality parameters.
The Nantucket Sound project will see the Center collaborate with several organizations for sample collection including University of Massachusetts, Boston Ã¢â‚¬â€œ Nantucket Field Station, Martha’s Vineyard Shellfish Group, Three Bays Preservation, Harwich Water Quality Task Force, Waquoit Bay National Estuarine Research Reserve and Falmouth Association Concerned with Estuaries and Ponds. The Center also contracts with a Cape Cod Commercial Fishermen’s Alliance boat captain for sampling the Nantucket Sound stations. CCS will provide training and equipment to these organizations to ensure that sample collection methods are consistent with the Center’s state- approved quality assurance plan.