Project Watershed CNY
Origin of the Project Watershed Program
The Izaak Walton League of America (IWLA) began a volunteers stream monitoring program in the late 1960’s titled ‘Save Our Streams.’ A local Izaak Walton chapter, the Central New York Chapter, was established in Syracuse in 1989 and undertook two major projects over the next several years.
The first project was undertaking a volunteer stream monitoring program in Onondaga County in partnership with several high school science teachers who volunteered to monitor nearby streams with assistance from CNY Chapter members who were familiar with the Save Our Stream methods for assessing water quality based on identification of stream insects and macroinvertebrates.
The second project was restoration of Beartrap Creek, a polluted tributary of Ley Creek in the Town of Salina, which had been contaminated with glycol aircraft deicer discharges from the Hancock Airport. The glycol pollution had the effect of sucking oxygen from the Creek waters, resulting in conditions adverse to supporting fish and aquatic communities.
After succeeding in recruiting a number of interested science teachers from area high schools, the CNY Chapter partnered with representatives from SUNY-ESF, Syracuse University, Onondaga County SWCD, and the science teachers to develop a regional volunteer stream monitoring program titled “Project Watershed Central New York.”
We also added a chemical monitoring element to the Project Watershed program based on a manual developed by Mark Mitchell and William Stapp at the University of Michigan titled: Field Manual for Water Quality Monitoring, An Environmental Education Program for Schools. With grant funding obtained from Niagara Mohawk and Cooper Industries, we were able to purchase three portable water quality laboratory units manufactured by the Hach Company.
In May, 2000, with funding assistance from the Onondaga County Health Department, graduate student Diana A. Saccone published her Master’s thesis titled “Professional Experience with Onondaga County Health Department, Council on Environmental Health: Project Watershed Central New York/Save Our Streams” at SUNY-ESF.
Saccone’s Master’s thesis described the overall purpose and history of the Project Watershed program, the principal water quality parameters being monitored, and provided an overview of the Quality Assurance/Quality Control Plans developed for the program.