Dan River Basin Association: Help monitor our Smith River

Dan River Basin Association: Help monitor our Smith River
Volunteers, (from left) Samantha Tiver-Belanger, Rachel Scott, and Kenneth Elliot, monitoring a stream in the Dan River basin. Photo taken by Amy Farinelli, DRBA staff.

September 23, 2016

(Collinsville, VA)  The Dan River Basin Association (DRBA) invites people who care about our local rivers and streams to learn how to monitor our waterways and train to be a certified citizen water quality monitor.  Free training will be held Tuesday, October 11 from 5:30 p.m. - 7:30 p.m. in Room 2 at the Henry County Administration Building, located at 3300 Kings Mountain Road in Collinsville.

"We are very excited to provide this special kind of citizen science in Martinsville and Henry County," said Krista Hodges, DRBA Education Manager. "According to Virginia's Department of Water Quality( VADEQ), 78% of Virginia’s rivers have not been assessed and 16 percent of Virginia’s rivers are impaired, and that is only of the waterways that have been tested.  Government agencies and scientists only monitor a small number of waterways, so all across the country, state and in our very own region, volunteers are helping us to bridge that gap and better understand the health of our local waters."

The free training, funded by the Harvest Foundation, will teach volunteers how to monitor for the presence of E. coli in streams and tributaries of the Smith River in Martinsville and Henry County. Volunteers will learn the approved sampling and testing methods for coliscan monitoring and the data will be shared with VADEQ.

High levels of E.coli bacteria in a stream indicate fecal contamination, usually caused by agricultural runoff, onsite treatment systems (septic), solid waste storage facilities, leaky municipal sanitary sewer lines and pet waste. This type of contamination can cause health issues in both wildlife and humans.

"We have a few volunteers trained and ready to go, but we still need more," said Brian Williams, DRBA program manager. "Volunteers only need to give a couple hours each month to collect the water sample, plate it and record the data. It is a short amount of time to give, but the work of these volunteers makes a difference for every citizen in our community. Many people don't realize our public drinking supply comes from our local river.  If someone cares about the health of our community and our tourism econony, this is a great way to get involved."

DRBA will also provide information about other types of volunteer water quality monitoring during the training.  

Registration is required. Please contact Krista Hodges at khodges@danriver.org to RSVP by Oct. 4. Space is limited to 20 people.

The mission of the Dan River Basin Association is to promote and protect the natural and cultural resources of the Dan River basin through education, recreation, and stewardship.  DRBA works to fulfill that mission by building river accesses and trails, educating people of all ages about protecting our natural resources, and protecting our water resources through water quality monitoring efforts.  The Dan River basin is 3,300 square miles including sixteen counties throughout Virginia and North Carolina.  To learn more about DRBA and how you can protect our natural and cultural resources, visit www.danriver.org.


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