Watershed health in the Ocean State
Funded by a three-year, $6 million grant awarded to NSF EPSCoR jurisdictions Rhode Island, Delaware and Vermont, sensor equipment placed in the states’ streams are providing a comprehensive regional picture of how climate variations may play a role in water quality and quantity.
The three states formed the North East Water Resources Network (NEWRnet), supported by NSF award #1330406, to carry out the project, which is funded by the NSF’s EPSCoR Research Infrastructure Improvement (RII) Track-2 program.
Researchers in the three states are collaborating efforts in multiple disciplines, from hydrology to economics, chemistry and marine robotics, to gather data, assess water quality, and gauge impact of information on policy decisions. With varying local climates, precipitation, and population density, the information compiled will present a unique and valuable perspective.
State-of-the-art water sensors in streams measure baseline water quality parameters and the overall conditions of water bodies. The sensors allow researchers to assess watershed health and determine the impact of extreme weather events. Meanwhile, economists from the three states utilize models they created to conduct experiments on the social dimensions to better understand how water resource users may respond to information on water quality and climate variability.