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The Wrack

The Wrack is the Wells Reserve blog, our collective logbook on the web.

A wet start to June!

Posted by | June 6, 2012

We saw a cold and wet start to the month of June here in Southern Maine. I thought I would share some SWMP data from a few of our stations to illustrate how weather can significantly impact the water quality of our estuaries

In the following graph you'll see cumulative rain data for the period of 6/1-6/5. 3 inches of rain fell on Saturday alone. In comparison, the Mother's Day storm of 2006 saw an incredible and record breaking 6" of rain in one 24 hour period, and a total of 10" of rain over 6 days. We hit 5 inches of rain in just a 4 day period this past weekend.

June 2012 Rain

The following graphs show the effects that the heavy rain and the subsequent runoff have on the water chemistry of the Little River Estuary. The first graph shows a large jump in Turbidity, or how much suspended particles are in the water, following the heavy rains on the 2nd. Note how it takes some time to actually see the increased Turbidity. The heavy rain happened on the 2nd but the turbidity does not peak until the 3rd. The second graph shows a significant crash in Dissolved Oxygen following the peak in Turbidity. As runoff, and the associated sediments and contaminates enter the water, it lowers the amount of available oxygen in the water for aquatic organisms like fish and plants. As we continue to replace forested buffers and vegetated areas with impervious surfaces like pavement and buildings, we can only expect to see an increase in the amount of storm water entering our estuaries.

SM Turb

SM Oxy

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