The Pioneer Valley Planning Commission, in partnership with Westfield State College’s Westfield River Environmental Center (WREC), is conducting a water quality monitoring project for the Westfield River.
Supported by a $29,004 water quality grant from the Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection, the project will establish a long-term monitoring program through the purchase of testing equipment, the development of a corps of volunteers to help with monitoring, and a full season of sampling and analysis from April to November of 2009.
Though the Westfield River basin is a tremendous asset and resource for the region—with 850 miles of rivers, streams, and brooks, and 4,200 acres of lakes and ponds in Hampshire, Hampden, and Berkshire counties—data about contamination and water quality have been collected only sporadically. The current monitoring program will examine physical, chemical, and biological parameters within the river and several tributaries on a regular basis.
Monitoring for physical and chemical data is being conducted at 21 sites and monitoring for bacterial data is being conducted at 12 sites throughout the basin. The monitoring sites stretch from the Town of Windsor, through Huntington and Russell, to West Springfield.
Data will provide a more complete picture of the river’s health and understanding about sources of contamination. This information will be useful not only to recreational users who have direct contact with the waters, but to local cities and towns, the Westfield River Watershed Association, the Westfield River Wild and Scenic Advisory group, and other stakeholders. Up-to-date monitoring results will be posted on WREC’s web page at http://envcenter.wsc.ma.edu/water-quality-monitoring.