Woodville Elementary teacher Ken Green’s sixth-graders jumped in enthusiastically and “got wet” checking out the water quality in the Portage River.
The venture has been going on for more than a decade and recently, the “Portage River Congress” was awarded an OEEF Mini-Grant through Ohio EPA. Grant funds received will be used to help new schools with the purchase of monitoring equipment and provide current schools with refills and some new equipment.
With the assistance of the Ottawa and Wood Soil and Water Conservation Districts, the students monitor the Portage River in the fall and in the spring each year, testing for pH, dissolved oxygen, phosphate, nitrates and fecal coliform.
They also do temperature readings and a macro invertebrate count. A physical analysis is done using the QHEI method (qualitative habitat evaluation index) developed by EPA.
This takes the fish’s point of view and decides, “Would I like to live here?” Green explained, adding that the testing is fairly accurate and provides a great hands-on science for the students.
Carol Benner, Ottawa Soil and Water Conservation District and Nicki Kale, Wood Soil and Water Conservation District will offer classroom presentations during the winter months with the students.
In May, all schools involved will participate in the “Portage River Congress” at Harrison Park in Pemberville, where they will share their findings.
Steven Squires, Chris Klett, Laif Thorbaun, Ross Weirich looking for marcroinvertebrates they captured doing the Portage River "shuffle."