What is River Watch.

The “Colorado River Watch” program is an on-going volunteer water quality-monitoring program co-sponsored by the Colorado Division of Wildlife (CDOW) and the Colorado Watershed Assembly. It is designed to provide the CDOW and the Colorado Water Quality Control Commission with high quality water ecosystem data for use in making or revising water quality standards.  Several Colorado Trout Unlimited chapters have joined the program by collecting and analyzing water samples from designated sites by chapter. These samples are analyzed monthly for pH, temperature, hardness, alkalinity, dissolved oxygen and heavy metals (Al, As, Ca, Cd, Cu, Fe, Mg, Pb, Se, and Zn). Twice a year (spring and autumn) nutrients (phosphorous, nitrate + nitrite, ammonia, chloride, sulfate, and total suspended solids) are collected. Chapter members conduct the water sample analyses, except for the nutrient and heavy metal samples which are analyzed by an outside CDOW laboratory. Twice a year, during low water flow conditions – typically in the early spring and autumn – samples are collected for macroinvertebrates.  Volunteers sample water from the South Platte River (Station #922) above Deckers. Bill Honeyfield is the Cutthroat Chapter River Watch Coordinator (303 771-1855) or email blhoneyfield@comcast.net.

Sampling Site(s).

Station 922 Deckers (NEW April 09). This site was newly established in April 2009 and is located upstream from the Deckers bridge and across from the Lone Rock Campground – the GPS coordinates are 35 15 N 105 14 W. The site is reached via the gravel road on the east side of the river.

Bill Honeyfield, the Chapter’s River Watch Coordinator, will establish the monthly collection date and time and disseminate the information to the River Watch team via email prior to the event. If you wish to become part of the collection and analysis team contact Bill at (303 771-1855) or email blhoneyfield@comcast.net . The River Watch event is composed of two segments: 1) on-site water sample collection plus temperature and stream flow measurements, and 2) follow up analysis at Bill’s home in Parker, CO to determine pH, hardness, alkalinity and dissolved oxygen. The on-site collection usually takes 30 minutes and Bill likes to combine the collection with a fishing event when practical. The follow up analysis at Bill’s home takes about an hour and Bill will teach you all you need to know how to perform the analyses. Bill sends a portion of the water samples to a commercial laboratory to measure the contents for heavy metals (Al, As, Ca, Cd, Cu, Fe, Mg, Pb, Se, and Zn) and nutrients (phosphorous, nitrate + nitrite, ammonia, chloride, sulfate, and total suspended solids). The results of the analyses are posted to the River Watch on-line data base under the site name and number (i.e. 922). NOTE: since this is a new site, the site has not yet been added to the data base.

Here are two images from the first River Watch collection at the new site on April 13th, 2009

River Watch 1River Watch 2

Bill Honeyfield is in the green shirt and Jocelyn Mertens is in gray. Bill is collecting the water samples and Jocelyn is taking the temperature measurement.

Macroinvertebrate Collection (site 922). In addition the the water quality sampling and analysis, macroinvertebrates (i.e. “bugs”) will be collected at the same site twice a year (spring and autumn) during low river flows. The collected bug samples will be sent to an out-side laboratory for analysis. Here are images from the April 13th, 2009 collection effort.

RW-bugs3 RW-Bugs4

The “Bug Team” (left to right in the top left photo) Jim Rasmussen, Gary Weihrauch, Jim Ives, and Bill Honeyfield.

Archived Data from the Previous River Watch Site

Station 216 Bowles Avenue Bridge (data collected by Cutthroat Chapter 2006-2008)

Data Graphs

Dissolved Oxygen

Dissolved Oxygen (percent saturation)

pH Levels

Phenol Alkalinity

Water Temperature

Total Alkalinity

Total Hardness