As the first quarter of 2016 comes to a close, TIDE is wrapping up production of the annual reports on our 2015 activities. One such report is the Water Quality Monitoring Program Report, which is now complete and available on our Water Quality Monitoring webpage. The entire research and monitoring team, under TIDE's Science Director and water quality monitoring project leader James Foley, pulled together to analyze the huge amount of data from 2015 and put the report together.
Marine biologist Tanya Barona, Research Assistant Marty Alvarez and GIS Intern Ryan Moore, just a few members of TIDE’s research and monitoring team, working together to complete the 2015 Water Quality Monitoring Annual Report
Sharing the results and outcomes from our research and monitoring programs through annual reports is an important component of TIDE’s work. These reports inform management and policy decisions, as well as future research efforts. The Water Quality Monitoring program is one of TIDE’s longest running and most extensive monitoring efforts, encompassing marine and freshwater resources in an integrated approach. Comparing water quality measurements from rivers and the sea allows us to understand changes over time and how these bodies of water impact each other, which holds important implications for how TIDE’s protected areas are managed.
The annual report includes visualizations of the data, such as the above temperature map, that make spatial relations more clear and aid in data analysis
Relating changes observed in waterways back to land use changes in the surrounding watershed reveal how activities on land are influencing ecosystem health in coastal and offshore habitats. This information can then be relayed back to land managers and communities to prevent activities that are damaging ecosystems and threatening important resources. Reduced water quality in the Bladen branch of Monkey River alerted us to the damage that is being caused by banana and citrus plantations nearby. As a result, outreach efforts focused on educating these communities about riparian zone management, low impact farming methods and good sanitation have resulted in more effective management strategies.
What we have learned from the Water Quality Monitoring Program has strengthened outreach efforts to inform local communities about climate change and provide the tools and knowledge necessary for preparation
Understanding how water quality changes occur and the resulting impacts farther downstream can also be used to predict future conditions, especially as climate change becomes a growing issue. If we know how ecosystems will react to changing temperatures and weather patterns and increased atmospheric carbon dioxide, we can help prepare communities for expected changes. Limiting harmful land activities and improving ecosystem health will also build resilience so communities are less vulnerable to the impacts of climate change. Information we have learned from the Water Quality Monitoring Program has guided the creation of Local Early Plans to help stakeholder communities prepare for climate change. TIDE’s Water Quality Monitoring Program has provided a wealth of knowledge that is improving the management of our protected areas and empowering local communities with the tools and information necessary to protect the resources they rely on.
View the 2015 Water Quality Monitoring Report as well as TIDE’s other recent reports here.