Monitoring 2005

BACTERIA RESEARCH PROJECT – 2005

By Jerry Trent, Water Quality Committee

The Cross Lake Water Quality Committee is taking advantage of an opportunity to be a part of a six-state research project involving comparing different methods of analyzing river and stream samples for E. Coli varieties of fecal coliform bacteria which are formed in the intestines of all warm-blooded wild and domestic animals, humans, and birds).  Training for Ed Doberstein and Jerry Trent was done by Barbara Liukkonen, Water Resources Education Coordinator, University of Minnesota, who is supervising three teams in Minnesota.  Funding for this three-year Citizens’ Monitoring Bacteria project was granted by the U.S. Department of Agriculture Cooperative State Research, Education and Extension Service.

The Cross Lake Association team is doing weekly water sampling and analysis for two locations:  (1) Snake River at the DNR dock near the Cross Lake dam and (2) Cross Creek at Pine County 125 (the site used for the last two years to collect bacteria, chemical and physical properties of that stream and wetland).  Another unofficial site to be monitored is the outlet of the Pine City wastewater plant culvert where it empties twice a year into the Snake River below the dam.

The purpose of the six-state pilot project is to (1) determine the most economical, accurate, and practical method(s) for future citizen volunteers to collect and analyze surface water for E. coliform bacteria (an organism indicating impaired water, e.g., unsuitability for swimming or as a source of drinking water); (2) provide bacteria data on streams and rivers that have not been studied officially.  Most of Minnesota’s miles of streams and rivers have not been evaluated.  Stream monitoring programs can be invaluable in assessing current conditions and tracking trends in water quality over time to determine if problems exist that require remediation.

The Cross Lake Association benefits directly from this study by providing cost-free data which will allow us to track changes in bacteria levels over time.  Also, the training will allow us to continue our own sampling and analysis after the funding period is over.