Chapter & group outings chair, chapter watershed committee member
I was one of a group of 12 dedicated environmentalists and concerned local citizens who gathered to collect data documenting the water quality of a stream flowing from a proposed housing development into Michael's Brook. The brook is a tributary of Croton Falls Reservoir of New York City's Croton Watershed in Carmel, NY. (A photo and audio record of our day can be found on the Sierra Club Atlantic Chapter.)
Organized by Croton Watershed Clean Water Coalition president and Sierra Club watershed activist Marian Rose, the event had included training in data colection and collation technique by the state's Department of Environmental Conservation in order to involve local citizens in water quality monitoring. One of our participants, Richard Israel, runs the Sierra Club New York Water Sentinels program and traveled 50 miles to join us today.
In addition to the watershed activists and environmental justice activists from Putnam County and New York City, we had with us a number of concerned local residents, including a doctor with a background in public health, and a husband and wife who live nearby.
Shortly after 10:30 a.m., we donned waders to plunge through a thicket of phragmites reeds and poison ivy vines to reach the stream, where we set up shop to measure stream flow, water temperature, the physical profile and width of the stream, and to take macroinvertebrate samples in nets and buckets at two locations -- one upstream near the project and another where the stream enters the Croton Falls reservoir.
Afterwards, we set up our laboratory at a rented Veterans of Foreign Wars meeting hall to have lunch (pizza and salad brought in by two of our local crew) and to identify and record the number of macroinvertebrate specimens caught in the nets -- until cleanup at 5 p.m.!