|In the previous post, I described the different efforts at the NYSDEC that are using WAVE data. At the same time, many groups are using WAVE data directly with their local communities to highlight and preserve valuable local resources.
High quality streams are valuable resources to your community. They provide drinking water, recreational fun for anglers and swimmers, habitat for aquatic and terrestrial wildlife, and they offer an aesthetic beauty (a list of all the NYSDEC designated uses for flowing surface waters is provided here: https://goo.gl/9yXlyu)
Documenting healthy streams in your community is valuable for preservation efforts as detailed in two wonderful examples below:
The Housatonic Valley Association, for example, is concerned about the potential impacts of planned development projects in their watershed. They joined WAVE in 2014 and have spent the past two years targeting their sampling effort to document current conditions in these streams, before construction begins. They have shared these data directly with community leaders and are engaging in decision making to work cooperatively for the best outcome.
The Rockland County Soil and Water Conservation District is using WAVE to advise community planning decisions right from the start. They utilize both professional level monitoring and WAVE monitoring to track the health of Rockland County streams. The combined dataset help Rockland County Soil and Water Conservation District work directly with community leaders to make informed decisions regarding development, tracking of illicit discharges, and natural resource preservation.
It is also valuable to highlight our healthy streams as a source of local pride. WAVE participant Paul Miller owns a family homestead on the banks of Fish Creek in Oneida County, NY. In the summer of 2014, he collected three samples from different reaches of Fish Creek. Two of these samples contained 6 or more “Most Wanted” macroinvertebrates and were recorded as “No Known Impact”, the highest water quality category in the NYSDEC’s waterbody inventory. After receiving his results, Paul Miller wrote, “My family has lived on the banks of Fish Creek since 1866. Helping to assess its health is very rewarding for me.”
What can you do to protect the healthiest streams in your community?
The best way to start is to find other people in your watershed who share your interest and concerns. Reach out to other members of the WAVE project within your same watershed; here is a map of the WAVE local coordinators: https://goo.gl/Xrh5Sq
For established groups, a new grant source is available to communities that would like to protect large, high quality watersheds. It is funded by the USEPA and is called the Healthy Watersheds Consortium Grant Program. They are currently accepting proposals for watershed action projects, projects that build watershed protection capacity, or projects that pilot new or experimental technologies, methods, or approaches to incentivize watershed protection. This request for proposals is posted on their home page: http://www.usendowment.org/partnerships/hwcgrantprogram.html.
Don’t hesitate to contact me for more information about these projects or to discuss what you can do to protect your healthy waters.