MAYVILLE — From May 15 through May 25 the Rock River Coalition will be paddling down the Rock River during “Testing the Waters, A Paddle and Probe Adventure.”
The event starts in Mayville and ends in Beloit, and paddlers will test water quality along the Rock River and host community programs to discuss their findings.
Presentations will be given in towns along the way including Horicon, Watertown, Jefferson, Fort Atkinson, Janesville and Beloit.
Rather than conducting tests in one spot, paddlers will install special equipment on their kayaks to measure four parameters, every 10 seconds, all along the river throughout the 11 days of the trip. The information will be instantly uploaded to a mapping server via the paddlers’ cell phones, so anyone with Internet access can see the results at testingwaters.org. Website visitors will be able to view data and even prepare maps to print or share in presentations or on social media.
The water quality tests will include dissolved oxygen, temperature, conductivity and pH, each an important measure of water quality.
The team will do some traditional sampling as well by collecting water samples for phosphorus analysis at the start and end of each day and at the confluence of every major stream or river entering the Rock River. The paddlers will measure turbidity, or how clear the water is, several times each day.
Together these measurements will give a better picture of the Rock River’s water quality. While this one trip doesn’t tell the whole story, it will give one snapshot view of water quality and establish a baseline for future research efforts.
The “Testing the Waters” paddlers will host community programs to reveal their findings to date and provide a forum for interested community members to ask questions and discuss water quality challenges. Visit www.rockrivercoalition.org for a full list of speakers and events.