The Catalogue is about
- raising community awareness about the island’s surface freshwater diversity and importance;
- gathering data on island freshwater quantity and quality; and
- eventually developing watershed preservation and management activities.
Watershed Stewardship Groups have been established in five the island’s watersheds. Volunteers are gathering or supporting data gathering on SSI stream and wetlands through the following activities:
- making field observations on selected surface water features in our watersheds and providing insights into where to gather additional data;
- developing computer tools to capture, store, and make our data accessible; and
- being educated to ensure that as “citizen scientists” we collect the appropriate data, using the right techniques.
We now have data collection field forms and a Smart phone app for collecting field data, an online (GIS) map (see example below), and a cloud-based data and project work storage area. Our SSIFWC Watershed Facebook Group provides regular updates on the FWC project activities and events.
Our current priority is to focus on the quantity of surface water flow (and standing water bodies; ponds wetlands, etc.). If water is flowing in the summer, it indicates that it’s likely coming from groundwater. If surface water is standing throughout the summer, this may indicate an area of groundwater recharge. Both provide valuable information that can give us insight into our aquifer, both supply and recharge. Improving our understanding of the linkages between our surface and ground water is a key component of the project. If you have a stream near you, or know of significant wetlands that you can report on to us, please do let us know.
A special donation is allowing us to acquire a device to take measurements to determine if surface water comes from groundwater. We are also establishing linkages with other agencies and organizations to ensure that the collected data are useful and to avoid duplication of effort.
The map below shows areas for which we currently have data. This map is an extract from our online project map. The online map is updated weekly with data collected by the volunteers and will be further developed to allow data display over time. As our volunteer base grows, we will be able to also take measurements of water quality to establish a water quality baseline.
We need volunteers in both “field” and “office” roles to enable us to gather more data and in more watersheds. Additional volunteers will also provide greater continuity in collecting date over the short and long term and will help to grow the database more rapidly. Volunteers with IT, GIS and historical research skills will allow us to make our Catalogue project more complete and accessible.
Please help spread the word, we need you! To volunteer or for more information contact John at JAMSSIWater[at]gmail[dot]com
Article by John Millson