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Streamwatch Intern Nick Thornton Reports on Summer Activities

Summer 2011

Working with the Brodhead Watershed Association

This has been a summer of new experiences for me.  Going into my senior year at East Stroudsburg University, I had the opportunity to do comparative testing with the many Streamwatch volunteers of the Brodhead Watershed Association.  Over the summer I was able to test with twenty-eight Streamwatchers at many different locations throughout the watershed.  The combination of the fantastic people that I have met and the remarkable locations I have traveled to this summer far exceed everything I had been anticipating from this internship.  It took me only a few weeks to realize the cleanliness of our streams that by and large maintain low levels of nitrate and phosphate. 

With streams as clean as ours, reliable chemicals are essential to achieve accurate results.  This as many Streamwatchers know, has been the major dilemma of the year.  In an effort to resolve this, Pocono Team Leader Bob Stevens and I spent numerous days testing prepared standards with new batches of chemicals sent in from Hach Chemical Company.  Bob and I made a great team and worked very well together.  Bob and Mrs. Stevens were also extremely hospitable to me, making me lunch and dinner on several occasions (thanks again!) and always making sure I was comfortable.  The extensive amount of tests Bob and I ran essentially proved that the Hach nitrate chemicals can be unreliable which has led to changes in nitrate testing protocol. 

This summer has been a wonderful experience and I cannot express my gratitude enough.  The knowledge I gained of the Brodhead Watershed has been indispensable and the people that I have met have been fantastic.  It truly takes an organized effort from many people that are willing to donate their time and energy to a selfless cause for an organization to be successful, and that’s exactly what the Brodhead Watershed Association has. 

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