Establishing a Connecticut River Observatory

Bernhard Peucker-Ehrenbrink, Marine Chemistry and Geochemistry
Zhaohui Wang, Marine Chemistry and Geochemistry


Funded Project 2009:

We propose to establish a collaborative time-series river observatory on the Connecticut River. This observatory will enable us to monitor important physical, chemical, and eventually also biological parameters that will link such parameters to ongoing and future changes (e.g., land-use, climate, pollution) in the Connecticut River basin. We propose to establish collaborations with scientists/volunteers on the Connecticut River who are interested in working with us to collect data and samples at bi-weekly resolution, and to respond quickly to unusual events (e.g. flood events). We will also conduct several diurnal sampling campaigns in order to acquire data at very high temporal resolution in order to examine effects of short-term variation in the context of longer term changes.

The analytical program proposed here will allow us to determine several parameters that are key to improving our understanding of nutrient input into Long Island Sound, weathering and erosion processes in the Connecticut River basin, and cycling of inorganic (and organic) carbon in river systems.

The proposed work represents the local complement to ongoing NSF-funded efforts aimed at establishing and maintaining similar collaborative observatories at several large international rivers (Lena in Russia, Yangtze in China, Congo in the Democratic Republic of Congo, Ganges and Brahmaputra in India/Bangladesh, Fraser in Canada). Establishing a river observatory on a local river will provide us with a test-bed for improved sampling methods and for developing new in-situ sensors that will ultimately enable us to track important physical, chemical and biological parameters at very high temporal resolution.