CONTACT:Anne Capra, Pioneer Valley Planning Commission, (413) 781-6045
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
August 4, 2008
Westfield River Water Quality Monitoring Project to Begin
The Pioneer Valley Planning Commission, in partnership with Westfield State College’s Westfield River Environmental Center (WREC), is launching 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.
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 new monitoring program will examine physical, chemical, and biological parameters within the river and several tributaries on a regular basis.
Trial monitoring will be done in October 2008 at three sites in the Westfield River basin to evaluate sampling and analysis protocols. Starting in April 2009, monitoring for physical and chemical data will be done at 20 sites and monitoring for bacterial data will be done at 12 sites throughout the basin. The monitoring sites stretch from the Town of Windsor, through Huntington and Russell, to the City of Westfield.
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.
The project is currently seeking volunteers to help with monitoring. For more information or to volunteer, call Patty Gambarini at the Pioneer Valley Planning Commission at (413) 781-6045.