To better understand and evaluate the needs of Lambert Creek, VLAWMO has installed four new monitoring stations at various locations along the creek. Each station is equipped with a sensor that is programmed to take readings of the water levels with open-source technology. This means that data from the sensor is sent to a cellular service account, which is then sent to the internet. Data is publicly accessible at any time.
The ultrasonic (sonar) sensor detects the water level by measuring the distance from the sensor to the water. When the water level is high, the distance between the sensor and water level decreases. This is expressed under "distance" on the Monitor My Watershed website. However, this isn't an intuitive way to read the data from an observer's perspective. The reading titled "gauge height" subtracts the distance from a reference water level height, flipping it in the right direction. Lastly, the "discharge" reading measures the volume of water being discharged through the creek in cubic feet per second. The sensor is powered by a small solar panel installed nearby.
Each monitoring site is supported by a Leaf Pack bio-monitoring effort. Using tools and methods of the Leaf Pack Network, VLAWMO staff and Watershed Action Volunteers complete periodic Leaf Pack data collection and entry at each site. This data represents the aquatic macroinvertebrate population at the site, which is used as a bio-indicator to supplement VLAWMO's chemistry-oriented water monitoring. By analyzing and recording what's living in the creek, we can draw trends in the creek's health and habitat status.
Visit the sensor web pages at the links below.