Results from Six Years of Community-Based Volunteer Water Quality Monitoring By the Upper Oconee Watershed Network
Wenner, David B.
Rasmussen, Todd C.
Conners, Deanna E.
Fisher, Dwight S.
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The Upper Oconee Watershed Network (UOWN), an Athens, GA-based non-profit volunteer organization, was organized in 2000 with the mission to improve water quality in the Upper Oconee River basin through community-based advocacy, monitoring, and education. Quarterly monitoring of both reference and impaired stream segments form the basis for achieving all three of UOWN’s mission objectives. UOWN has developed a model for engaging the public in quarterly monitoring and in the larger annual River Rendezvous events. Quarterly monitoring not only tracks long-term trends in targeted stream segments, but also has resulted in the discovery and remediation of acute incidences of pollution. Six years of data collection revealed high levels of contamination in urban streams as evidenced by high conductivity and bacterial numbers, and potential limitations when using quarterly water quality monitoring to assess the health of Piedmont streams.
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