In March 2012, AWW responded to a request for public input relative to ADEM’s 2012 draft 303(d) list of impaired streams. AWW examined volunteer monitor water data collected in recent years, and requested that ADEM consider this wealth of information as it evaluated the condition of the state’s streams, rivers, lakes and coastal waters.
Water data from 2007 through 2012 were compiled from the AWW database, totaling over 13,000 data records from 624 sites throughout the state. An evaluation of these data based on dissolved oxygen (DO) readings indicated that several streams and coastal waters were frequently DO-impaired (had DO concentrations less than the 5 ppm minimum mandated by ADEM for sustaining fish and wildlife). A total of 24 sites on 20 different waterbodies had at least 40% of their DO readings below 5 ppm, and the majority of these waterbodies were not on ADEM’s impaired list. A caveat was noted, acknowledging that some of these DO impairments may have been from natural causes, such as low stream flow.
We invite you to read ADEM’s response to AWW’s input (and the input/comments of others) by clicking the link at the end of this article. In summary, ADEM:
- appreciated the work of AWW, acknowledging that it is a nationally-recognized citizen monitoring program,
- acknowledged the value of AWW monitoring efforts in helping to identify where additional monitoring resources are needed,
- agreed that waterbodies identified as impaired by AWW monitors warrant additional investigation, and will be included in ADEM monitoring efforts, and,
- suggested that some of the impaired waterbodies on AWW’s list were impaired because of low-flow conditions.
While citizen volunteer monitors continue to faithfully monitor the waters they love, AWW will promote and pursue the use of citizen water data to positively influence Alabama’s water policy.