‘Stream Team’ to track water quality in area

Published on Sunday, 15 December 2013 23:05 - Written by KELLY GOOCH kgooch@tylerpaper.com

East Texans have the opportunity to be part of an initiative that allows volunteers to help keep track of water quality in area rivers, the Texas Conservation Alliance has announced.

According to a news release, the Meadows Center for Water and the Environment at Texas State Uni-versity and the Texas Conservation Alliance have worked together to establish “stream teams” for rivers such as the Neches, Sabine and Sulphur.

The news release states that these groups “will be part of Texas Stream Team, a network of trained volunteers and supportive partners who gather information about the water resources of Texas.”

Under the effort, volunteers are trained to go to specific points on these rivers and test the water, Texas Conservation Alliance Executive Director Janice Bezanson said. She said it is similar to testing a swimming pool, and volunteers test the same spots each time so that there is comparable data. She described it as a “citizen science project.”

“It’s just a thing to make sure the water quality is maintained,” Ms. Bezanson said. “If there is something anomalous, it signals the state needs to look at that area.”

She said this ensures that water quality is sufficient to support fish, among other things.

Additionally, Ms. Bezanson said the teams are helpful in that they provide more scientific knowledge about what’s happening in the waters and help the state with monitoring efforts.

Travis Tidwell, monitoring program coordinator with Texas Stream Team, echoed Ms. Bezanson.

“By collecting the data, it helps supplement local water resource managers with water quality data. It helps … identify … where there may be pollution occurring,” he said.

After data is collected, he said will be made public.

Ms. Bezanson said a training session for volunteers is slated for in January, and anyone who wants to learn how to be part of a stream team is welcome. Volunteers will be put into teams and assigned to a location. She said data will be collected monthly.

“We kind of worked out where every volunteer and team of volunteers will be monitoring,” Ms. Bezanson said.

“We’ll just match up what people want to do with what fits,” she added. 

For more information, contact the Texas Conservation Alliance atTCA@tcatexas.org or 512-777-9730.