Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Students caring for Puget Sound health monitoring device

By Sandy Howard

Everett Community College students are doing something cool for Puget Sound in partnership with the Department of Ecology and the Port of Everett.

They are caretakers of an Ecology-owned marine monitoring device that’s anchored in Puget Sound near Mukilteo on Port of Everett property.

The device is sending live, real-time data about water temperature, salinity and dissolved oxygen levels to a public website.

Currently this instrument is one of three marine monitoring devices Ecology has in Puget Sound that “telemeter” data, meaning they update data every 15 minutes. The three are among the five Ecology moorings in Puget Sound. The University of Washington and King County have monitoring devices in Puget Sound as well.
We’re excited about partnerships like these. They help bring down the cost and may allow more probes in more locations. This is coordinated monitoring involving students, who are the next generation that will need to continue to care for Puget Sound into the future.

Yesterday, the college issued a news release about this project, in coordination with Ecology and the Port, and the news was quickly picked up by KING-TV in Seattle, the Everett Herald, KPLU radio and the Seattle Daily Journal of Commerce.
Who’d have thought good news would have such attraction? I guess people are really starting to care about Puget Sound and the steps we’re taking to restore it.

What’s great about this project is that students can see how weather and floods immediately affect marine water quality. They can see effects from algae blooms and other marine events as they occur.

Everett Community College’s Ocean Research College Academy (ORCA) is the only early college in the nation that uses the local marine environment as the interdisciplinary connection to critical analysis in all disciplines. The program accepts up to 50 students each year. Read more about Ecology’s Marine Monitoring Program here. Ecology will update this website, so stay tuned.

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