Lofty Creek in the headwaters of the Little Schuylkill River
Our Schuylkill River project is an effort to describe stream water quality throughout the 1900-square mile Schuylkill River basin in southeastern Pennsylvania. We assess stream condition by sampling the macroinvertebrates (mostly insects, crustaceans, mollusks and worms) that live on the stream bottom.
The presence of particular types as well as their relative abundances are combined with knowledge of the ability of the various types to withstand pollution to come up with a water quality “score” for each site. Water quality scores identify poor quality streams in need of mitigation, high quality streams worthy of special protection, and fair quality streams that may deserve intervention to prevent them from becoming poor quality streams.
Overview of Web Pages
This website presents the results of 12 years of study, from 1996 to 2007. Included are data from 19 long-term study sites on major tributaries that are sampled each year. These sites provide a current and long-term assessment of watershed health throughout the basin. An additional 120 sites, located upstream from the original 19 sites and sampled in one year only, provide a more complete picture of conditions within the major tributaries within the Schuylkill basin. Throughout this website, sampling sites are color coded to indicate water quality conditions, with blue signifying “good”, yellow “fair” and red “poor”.
The site is organized into pages as follows:
- Introduction presents general information about the Schuylkill River, its location, history and importance to the area, as well as background on the use macroinvertebrates in stream water quality monitoring.
- Sampling methods gives information about the study area and sites as well as sample collection and processing.
- Project Goals establishes the three long-term scientific and education goals of the project.
- Data Interpretation gives specific information on what sort of data are generated and how they are analyzed.
- Sampling Sites presents and overview of the basin, the location of our 19 long-term monitoring sites, and the various sub-basins for which we have additional data. This page also includes an alphabetical list of all 146 sites, with links to their pages and sub-basins.
- Contributors lists individuals and organizations contributing to the Schuylkill River project.
- References provides details for the literature cited in the earlier pages.
- Project summary is now available in Understanding Stream Conditions: Lessons from an 11-year Study of Macroinvertebrates in Eastern Pennsylvania’s Schuylkill River Watershed, with a focus on Exceptional-Value and High-Quality Streams. Download the summary and/or the related appendices.
The William Penn Foundation generously provided support throughout this study, including the development of this website.
The Wyomissing Foundation provided additional support during the initial phase of the study.