There are many steps involved in monitoring our Texas waterways. We understand that sometimes remembering all the steps in between can be a bit difficult. From conductivity to dissolved oxygen (DO) and pH, there are many steps for each parameter that need to be monitored properly.
Below you’ll find Texas Stream Team water quality testing videos for Core parameter. We put these videos together so that you may refer back to them if there is ever any need. These videos can serve as a guide on how to test Core water quality parameters.
Conductivity measures the amount of dissolved ions in water, which gives the water the ability to conduct electricity. Posted below is a video featuring Eryl Austin-Bingamon, president of Bobcat Stream Team, giving a refresher on how to monitor conductivity in water.
There are a wide variety of inorganic substances or dissolved solids like sodium, chloride, sulfate, calcium, bicarbonate, nitrates, phosphates, iron, magnesium, etc. in water. All these materials at certain concentrates are essential for life, and all have the ability to carry an electrical current. Water with high concentrations of dissolved solids has a high level of conductivity.
Aquatic animals and plants are adapted for a certain range of conductivity. Outside of this range, they will be negatively affected and may die. Some aquatic animals and plants can handle high conductivity levels but not low, while others can handle low conductivity levels but not high.
There are many chemicals and intricate steps involved in monitoring DO. The video below features Austin-Bingamon going through the process of testing the amount of DO in a body of water. The video includes all the steps and materials needed to complete the test for DO.
DO is essential for all aquatic plants and animals. Low oxygen levels pose a threat to fish and aquatic organisms and makes it difficult for them to reproduce, feed, and survive.
Testing the water’s pH level is another Core parameter monitored by citizen scientists. The video below features Valerie Villarreal, outreach and communication specialist for Texas Stream Team, giving a refresher on how to monitor pH in water.
pH is a measurement of how acidic or basic (alkaline) a solution is. The balanced pH for water is 7. Anything below 7 indicates the water is acidic (more free hydrogen ions is), and anything above 7 indicates the water is alkaline (more free hydroxyl ions).
Most organisms have adapted to life in water of a specific pH. A change in the pH of water can alter the behavior of other chemicals in the water, which may affect aquatic plants and animals. For example, ammonia is harmless to fish in water that is acidic; however, as pH increases, ammonia becomes toxic. Some aquatic life may die if pH changes even slightly.
Please keep an eye out for Texas Stream Team Advanced parameter videos next month.
If you have not taken the Texas Stream Team Advanced Water Quality Citizen Scientist Training and are interested in doing so, check out the Texas Stream Team calendar for future training dates. Texas Stream Team Headwaters Newsletter and new blasts also provide information on upcoming trainings in your area.
As always, if you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to email us at TxStreamTeam@txstate.edu.