I am a new staff member at Rookery Bay Reserve, so after three full days of preparations and multiple checks of my "To Do" list, it was finally time to load up the boat with equipment and head out for my first day of nutrient water monitoring. The sky looked threatening and it was a little windy, but the sampling must go on.
Once at the first site, the mobile water sampling begins with a setup of bottles, filters and water pump. Then, simultaneously, the bottles are filled and the water is measured for physical parameters like temperature, pH, and salinity. This process occurs at five monitoring stations within the Rookery Bay Research Reserve's boundary. They are located in Henderson Creek, Blackwater River, Pumpkin Bay, Faka Union Bay, and Fakahatchee Bay. After returning to Rookery Bay Reserve, the samples are then packed in ice and shipped to the DEP Laboratory in Tallahassee where they are analyzed for 6 different nutrient substances and the plant pigment chlorophyll. The results are then sent to NOAA's National Estuarine Research Reserve System (NERRS) Centralized Data Management Office each year.
On this day, despite the wind and overcast skies, my coworker Jill Schmid and I collected all 44 samples and were back to ship them out by late afternoon. It was my first day, and it was a great day.
Check out Rookery Bay Research Reserve's Real-Time monitoring data.
Julie Drevenkar, Water Quality Program Coordinator