Monitoring Projects and Results
CLICK below to go to the project description:
The San Juan Islands Watershed Project was initiated in 2002 in partnership with the San Juan Islands Conservation District, with the purpose of collecting baseline watershed water quality data and educating local students about watershed health. Students from Friday Harbor High School, Spring Street International School, Lopez School, and Griffin Bay High School have been involved in the study. The water quality of 12 major watersheds was monitored on San Juan, Lopez and Orcas Islands every 6-8 weeks. Seven parameters were assessed at most sites: dissolved oxygen, fecal coliform, turbidity, pH and temperature, nutrients (nitrates, orthophosphates), and flow. Classroom sessions, field trips and activities introducing the importance of watersheds and water quality monitoring still occur to enhance present high school science curriculum.
Sampling and lab protocols were developed to meet the Washington State Department of Ecology's (WSDOE) quality assurance standards. All of the sampling equipment (DO/pH/temperature probes, incubators, fecal coliform filter dishes) meet EPA standards to ensure reliable, accurate data. The surface waters of the San Juan Islands are designated as Class AA or Extraordinary Primary Conact waters and are to meet the criteria outlined in WAC 173-201A-030 (2002). To learn more about present watershed water quality standards in Washington visit WSDOE.
San Juan County Watersheds
Provided by San Juan Islands Conservation District
Water Quality Results
The data we collect are shared with the San Juan Islands Conservation District (SJICD), the San Juan County Health Department, and WSDOE. These data served as an early warning system alerting resource managers that water quality impairment may be developing. SJICD also used the data to assess potential non-point source pollution problems within a watershed as a means of identifying appropriate 'Best Management Practices' for landowners.
CLICK below to review the islands water quality results:
CLICK below for access to the full set of watershed data.
Students conduct a water sampling study in the Friday Harbor Marina. Five times a year students take measurements at six sites to test for Marina water quality. During each sampling period the following parameters are measured in the field: water temperature, salinity, and direction of water movement. A water sample is collected and processed by each student at the Friday Harbor Laboratories and is examined the following day for fecal coliform counts. These data are recorded, graphed and shared with the Port of Friday Harbor. The marine water surrounding the San Juan Islands are designated as Class AA or Extraordinary Quality and are to meet the criteria outlined in WAC-173-201A-030 (2002).
CLICK below to view the Friday Harbor Marina water quality results and a map of the sites:
Students are involved in the assessment of the spread of an exotic species of mussel, Mytilus galloprovincialis. They use sophisticated electrophoresis techniques to identify the mussel from its DNA fingerprint, which is the only way of separating this cryptic species from the native mussel species, Mytilus trossulus. The DNA figerprint also allows students to identify hybrids of the two species. Their data are combined with data from a replicate of the project undertaken at the Spring Street International School. The results are sent to University of Puget Sound to be compiled with their Puget Sound wide study.
To find out more about this project go to The Invasive Mussel Project website.
Every May, 4th grade students, scientists, parents, and FHLSOP staff conduct two beach seines at Jackson Beach near Friday Harbor. These beach seines are taken through the eelgrass beds and act as a culminating project for the students' fish unit which focuses on watersheds, fish metabolism, eelgrass ecosystems, and fish species diversity. With the help of staff and scientists at the Friday Harbor Laboratories, fish from these seines are identified, counted, sized (flat fish and surf smelt only), and returned to the eelgrass beds. Students collate and graph their data, create hypotheses about population change and distribution and present their results to their peers and their university partners.
CLICK below to view the Jackson's Beach Seine Results:
CLICK below for access to the full set of beach seine data: