RMA has been monitoring the water quality of St. Andrew Bay since 1989 with the help of community volunteers and our Grasses in Classes students and staff. The water quality data collected by RMA over the past 29 years have been used by local, state, and federal stakeholders to manage coastal resources and help ensure safe and efficient use of these resources. Historically, water quality data have been used for planning purposes for Florida Department of Environmental Protection’s (FDEP) evaluation of impaired waters and to develop and implement Florida’s numeric criteria for proposed water quality standards, impairment assessment of surface waters, development of Total Maximum Daily Loads and development of Basin Management Action Plans.
Currently, RMA is monitoring a total of 67 water quality stations in St. Andrew Bay with 40 of those stations being monitored in conjunction with University of Florida’s LAKEWATCH program (12 freshwater stations and 28 coastal bodies), 19 stations are monitored in partnership with FDEP in Pensacola (water quality in relation to seagrass habitat) and 26 (Bay Watch) stations. Community-based volunteer programs are essential to ensuring the health of local wetlands, streams, lakes, estuaries and oceans.
Community-based volunteer programs raise community awareness of threats to our natural resources and nurture future stewards of these valuable resources. RMA is dedicated to partnering with local communities to assist in collecting credible data that can be used to better manage Florida’s aquatic systems. RMA has an excellent record of data collection and community participation. The data collected by RMA is used to understand pollution sources in St. Andrew Bay and how the quality of the water has affected the biological resource of the Bay, including how the water quality affects the recovery of seagrasses as well as scallop and oyster recruitment in the Bay.
Data collected at each station includes temperature, pH, dissolved oxygen, salinity, secchi depth. The weather, tide codes, sea conditions and precipitation is also recorded. Water quality parameters are measured at every station according to standard operating procedures of the Florida Department of Environmental Protection. Evaluation of turbidity, nutrients and chlorophyll at 40 stations is performed according to the methods described in the Florida LAKEWATCH Water Chemistry Field Sampling and laboratory Protocols.
Results are available in STORET under organization code 21FLKWAT. The data collected will be analyzed and published in an annual report provided to local, state and federal agencies working to protect, restore and enhance water quality and essential habitat in the St. Andrew Bay watershed.
RMA Welcomes New Volunteers!
In Dec 2011, Chris Forman and Emily Ellis were recognized for 15 years of outstanding volunteer service. They have been sampling Lake Powell for over 17 years! The success of the Bay Watch Program is due to our team of dedicated volunteers!
For more information about the Bay Watch Water Quality Program or how to volunteer, contact Christina Cantrell, Water Quality Technician or call the office 850.763.4303