Monitoring the health of the watershed is the first and perhaps the most important job of any watershed organization, a role that NRPA takes very seriously. Since 1992, NRPA’s volunteer river monitors have tested water in Narrow River and its major freshwater inputs from May through October as part of URI Watershed Watch.
In the first year of River Watch, Bob Schelleng (left)
and Stephen Vincelette monitor water in the
Lower Pond near Pettaquamscutt Lake Shores.
The number of testing sites has grown since the start of NRPA River Watch and we now monitor 14 locations, including stormwater abatement sites installed in the last ten years as part of best management practices by R.I. Department of Environmental Management and the Town of Narragansett. (View a map of the watershed with the testing sites identified, NR1 through NR14.)
Fourteen times during the season, the monitors measure water temperature and dissolved oxygen, filter water for chlorophyll analysis by the URI Watershed Watch laboratory and collect samples for salinity measurement. On six of those testing days, the monitors also collect samples for additional chemical analysis at URI.
Monitor measures dissolved oxgen in
water collected at Lacey Bridge
In this 2008 photo, Veronica Berounsky deploys
a deep water sampler in the Upper Pond to collect
water from Upper Pond for lab analysis.
River Watch Volunteers Needed
River Watch Database
Why We Monitor Water Quality
Because of coliform bacteria, Narrow River is currently closed to shellfishing and, as late as 2008, was on the Rhode Island List of Impaired Waters. NRPA is working with the R.I. Department of Environmental Management (DEM) and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to improve the water quality of the Narrow River. (For more information on statewide monitoring of water quality and the determination of the Impaired Waters, visit the Water Quality page on the DEM website.)