Using Community Led Science to Manage Wild and Scenic Rivers with the National Park Service
What do dragonfly collection, snorkeling to observe mussels and bioassessment workshops on Wild and Scenic Rivers have in common? This summer, these activities are part of three of the seven projects selected for funding as part of a new partnership between River Network and the National Park Service.
All around the country community-based organizations are collecting information on the nation’s waterways, with the potential to fill data gaps and inform better water management for healthier rivers and communities. Groups are working on projects including monitoring restoration efforts, validating climate change-related flood models, documenting the impact of road salt on streams, and tracking algal blooms. River Network has long supported groups nationwide in their efforts to effectively use and share community collected science and information to meet their goals for streams and rivers.
This year, for the first time – with the support of the National Park Service (NPS) – we offered Wild and Scenic Community Watershed Science Funding to nonprofit groups conducting community watershed science on NPS affiliated Wild and Scenic Rivers. The goal of these awards is to provide staff and volunteers of local organizations support for science that enhances river management and to strengthen partnerships between these groups and the NPS, all toward better protection for these Wild and Scenic Rivers and the values that make them so special for their local communities.
Jennifer Back, National Park Service Wild and Scenic Rivers Science Lead says, “We are so grateful to have such amazing partners working on these special rivers, and we are happy we are able to offer support for their much needed work.”
This year, we’re pleased to announce the following groups that received funding for their projects:
- Delaware Riverkeeper Network – will continue their community science efforts to document the health and status of threatened freshwater mussels through snorkel surveys in the Lower Delaware River watershed.
- Friends of the Wekiva River – will engage community members through citizen science to provide a baseline picture of mercury levels in and around Florida’s Wekiva Wild & Scenic River System through its Dragonfly Mercury Project.
- Lyme Land Conservation Trust (fiscal agent for the Eightmile River Wild & Scenic Coordinating Committee) – will develop a citizen science program and bioassessment field workshops at a preserve in each of the Connecticut watershed’s main towns.
- Missiquoi River Basin Association – will build connections between community members and local waterways through water sampling and inventories on Vermont’s Missiquoi River.
- Musconetcong Watershed Association – is creating a volunteer-based “Adopt a Musconetcong Mile” to collect and report water quality and litter data for this Wild and Scenic River in New Jersey.
- OARS – is working on a tributary to the Wild and Scenic Sudbury River in Massachusetts, training local community members to collect data in an effort to reduce pollution.
- Winyah Rivers Alliance – the Lumber Riverkeeper will be establishing a volunteer monitoring program, starting with virtual training and outreach, along this North Carolina river.