Today is Earth Day – an annual celebration to support environmental protection. Here at Aquatic Informatics, this day holds particular meaning as it is also the day we announce the winners of the AQUARIUS Impact Awards.
The AQUARIUS Impact awards program was designed to recognize and celebrate the dedicated work of water professionals passionately caring for their local environments. In coordination with World Water Day, applicants were invited to describe how AQUARIUS has made an impact on their work, organization, or community.
We would like to personally congratulate this year’s recipients: Dawn Hintz from Susquehanna River Basin Commission and Matthew Nicolai from Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribes of the Flathead Reservation. Their success stories epitomize the outstanding effort and dedication of all water professionals as they work to ensure a secure water future.
Susquehanna River Basin Commission
The Susquehanna River Basin Commission (Commission) began using AQUARIUS software in 2010 when the Commission initiated a continuous, real-time water quality monitoring network throughout the Susquehanna River basin. The network consists of 65+ real-time monitoring stations collecting water quality data at 15-minute intervals. These data are automatically pulled into AQUARIUS and are run through a series of automatic data corrections, reducing the amount of time staff need to spend correcting the data for equipment and fouling drifts and probe malfunctions. Beyond the automatic data corrections, staff perform manual data corrections to water quality data to have the most accurate data available for data analysis.
While the original intent of the network was to monitor surface water streams for impacts from unconventional natural gas drilling, other uses for the data quickly became apparent. The Commission has used the data to test sediment and turbidity relationships, review water quality impacts from water withdraws, look at water quality trends, and determine BMP effectiveness. In addition to the work completed by Commission staff, other agencies and academics have used the data to complete research on climate change, road salt impacts, and numerous other things. AQUARIUS allows for all the continuous data to be stored in one location, aggregated (hourly, daily, monthly) to the level needed by staff, and easily exported to statistical models for data analysis. Within the AQUARIUS software, staff have built rating curves for discharge, but also for phosphorus and chloride using continuous turbidity and specific conductance, respectively.
– Dawn Hintz, Susquehanna River Basin Commission
Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribes of the Flathead Reservation
I work with the Salish and Kootenai tribes located on the Flathead Reservation in Western Montana. Our department, Water Management, has been using the AQUARIUS database for almost a year now and I am very pleased with how it has transformed the way we do things here. So many changes have already taken place since I started here last March and I see us moving in a positive direction ever since we acquired AQUARIUS. I went from learning how to use a simple Excel-style format to using the fantastic real-time database. The wave of the future is here and I am very proud that our department has taken the initiative to move forward and not be left behind in the stone age. Compared to the other database we were using prior to AQUARIUS, we can now easily correct and quality control our data and our rating curves are developed without the hassle of pencil shavings. Deriving statistics within each location and looking up real-time results is pretty neat stuff. All this saves us time, which of course in return will save us money in the long run.
– Matthew Nicolai, Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribes of the Flathead Reservation