Lori Gittinger, Illinois Natural History Survey water quality specialist, works with YSI Inc. Senior Project Manager for Global Systems and Services Kevin Simpson as they launch a research buoy into the Mississippi River for the first time in October 2012.
GODFREY — In early October boaters, anglers, and hunters may notice a new buoy near the Stoddard Island complex in Navigation Pool 8 of the Upper Mississippi River in Wisconsin.
The new buoy will house water quality and weather monitoring equipment and is being set up by river scientists from the USGS Upper Midwest Environmental Sciences Center who are partnering with the National Great Rivers Research and Education Center’s Great Rivers Ecological Observatory Network project.
These stations will be in place for several weeks and will continuously monitor dissolved oxygen, water temperature, wind conditions, water clarity, phytoplankton abundance, and nitrate concentration.
Dissolved oxygen and water temperature are important factors in determining habitat quality. The main purpose of these monitoring stations is to provide information that will increase scientists’ understanding of how water clarity, river stage, discharge, weather conditions, and the concentration of plant nutrients (nitrogen and phosphorus) affect ecosystem function and structure of the Mississippi River and its floodplain habitats.
Ultimately, the GREON project has a goal of establishing a network of identical water quality monitoring buoys in major rivers around the world. The work in Pool 8 is an important preliminary step in establishing this network.
The National Great Rivers Research and Education Center is a partnership of Lewis and Clark Community College and the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.
NGRREC aspires to be a leader in scholarly research, education and outreach related to the interconnectedness of big rivers, their floodplains and watersheds, and the people who use them. For more information, visit www.ngrrec.org.