NEWS FROM THE FRIENDS
At this time of year we look back and take stock. 2014 has been an exciting year for Friends of the Mad River as we worked to conserve the valued resources of the Mad River watershed. If you're not on our mailing list (and didn't receive the newsletter two weeks ago), I invite you to read more about our work in the most recent Mad River Matters (or send your mailing address to firstname.lastname@example.org and I'll mail you a copy).
Three years ago today, on August 28, 2011, Tropical Storm Irene dumped so much rain across our watershed that, at 10:15 that memorable Sunday evening, the USGS flow gage in Moretown peaked at 24,200 cubic feet per second (cfs). [Today, in 2014, it’s at about 50 cfs, which is in line with the median for this date.]
Since this record-topping flow, Irene has since become a household name, fraught with all kinds of emotions. Irene left damage in its wake of a magnitude previously unimaginable. Today, three years later, our Mad River Valley community is still recovering from Irene – re-establishing our homes and businesses – and at the same time, we’re building our capacity to deal with whatever the future throws us.
Sampling results from the sixth and final round of Friends of the Mad River’s 2014 Mad River Watch (MRW) volunteer water quality program show no unfavorable swimming conditions as of Monday morning. None of the 36 Mad River watershed sites tested unsuitable for water recreation (according to EPA's E. coli threshold of 235 colonies per 100 ml of water) on 8/25. This result is expected due to low water levels and several days without rain. Pollutants that washed off the land and into the water (stormwater runoff) late last week have already moved through the watershed system.
Sampling results from the fifth round of Friends of the Mad River’s 2014 Mad River Watch (MRW) volunteer water quality program show no sites with unfavorable swimming conditions Monday morning! Before sampling, the last substantial rain event in our watershed was on August 5, so the low E. coli levels are not surprising.
Sampling results from the fourth round of Friends of the Mad River’s 2014 Mad River Watch (MRW) volunteer water quality program show only one site with unfavorable swimming conditions Monday morning. Lover's Lane Bridge in Moretown tested "unsuitable for swimming" (according to EPA's E. coli threshold of 235 colonies per 100 ml of water). Several other sites tested close to this level, including Ward Swimhole.
Sampling results from the third round of Friends of the Mad River’s 2014 Mad River Watch (MRW) volunteer water quality program show many swimhole sites with unfavorable swimming conditions yesterday. Fifteen of the 36 sites tested above Vermont’s Department of Health’s water quality standard in recreational waters (235 bacteria colonies per 100 ml of water), including many popular swimming holes. Of these 15 sites, 11 were main-stem Mad River sites and 4 were from tributary sites (Folsom Brook, High Bridge Brook, Shepard Brook, and Welder Brook). These high E. coli levels are to be expected given the days of dry weather leading up to rain on Sunday evening. As the rain washed pollutants through the watershed, E.coli levels in streams and rivers went up. The swimming might be more exciting in high water, but think twice before swimming after a storm!
Sampling results from the second round of Friends of the Mad River’s 2014 Mad River Watch (MRW) volunteer water quality program show all swimhole sites with favorable swimming conditions and warming water temps!
Results are in from this first sampling week of Friends of the Mad River's 30th year monitoring water quality in the Mad River watershed! Sampling results show all swimhole sites with favorable swimming conditions. Only one of the 36 sites - High Bridge Brook where it goes in a culvert under Joslin Hill Road - tested above Vermont’s Department of Health’s water quality standard in recreational waters (235 bacteria colonies per 100 ml of water). This non-swimhole site recorded an all-time high of 727 E. coli colonies per 100 ml on June 16. This is either an anomaly or evidence of a water quality problem; we’ll keep our eye on this site throughout the summer.
Corrie Miller, a scientist and dedicated conservationist, will take over as Executive Director of the Friends of the Mad River (FMR) starting in March. Miller has a strong background in non-profit management and, since Tropical Storm Irene devastated the region, has worked as the Executive Director of the Ausable River Association in the eastern Adirondacks. For nearly a decade before that she lived and worked in Vermont, most recently with the Staying Connected Initiative finding community-based solutions for wildlife habitat protection.
After six great years as Executive Director, the time has come for me to say good-bye to the Friends of the Mad River (FMR), an organization that has become near and dear to my heart. I have recently accepted the Executive Director position with the Stowe Land Trust, and will be making the transition in early December. While I am very excited about my new job, I will certainly miss the Friends of the Mad River: the Board of Directors, the wonderful volunteers, our members and supporters, the community. And of course, the river.