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Water Quality Data for 2003

The data below were collected at one site sites on the Woonasquatucket River under the URI Watershed Watch Program:

  1. Donigian Park, Providence

For more details about our monitoring program, the parameters we monitor, and links to more data, see the overview page for our water quality monitoring program. Data for other years are also available from this page as well as from the sidebar at right.

The water quality of many of the lakes and ponds in the watershed is also being monitored under the URI Watershed Watch program. The data for these sites are available on the Watershed Watch web site.


Bacteria: Samples for bacteria testing are collected once a month during the monitoring season and taken to the URI Watershed Watch lab for analysis. These results are generally available within about a week of the monitoring date.

In 2006 Watershed Watch began testing for the bacteria group enterococci, instead of fecal coliforms. This change was made because the US EPA identified enterococci as a better indicator of the risk of contacting gastrointestinal disorders as a result of coming into contact with the water than fecal coliforms. As a result of this finding, RI DEM and RI Department of Health are also switching to using enterococci as their standard for recreational contact (swimming). Prior to the to 2006 the bacteria groups tested for where e. coli or fecal coliforms.

The Rhode Island standard for freshwater used for recreation is 200 Fecal Coliform (count per 100 ml). The Federal standard for freshwater used for recreation is 126 E. Coli (count per 100 ml).For more information visit the URI Watershed Watch web site and, in particular, read this PDF document on bacterial monitoring

Fecal Coliform (count per 100 ml):

Site May June July August September October
Donigian Park 224 290 3470 380 567 340

E. Coli (count per 100 ml):

Site May June July August September October
Donigian Park 200 260 3400 380 560 340

Dissolved oxygen is important to the health of animals that live in the river because they need air to breath too. If the dissolved oxygen drops below 3 mg/L aquatic animals cannot survive. Between 3 and 5 mg/L it is hard for organisms to function, and above 5 is good. Oxygen levels are generally higher in the spring when the water is cold, because cold water can hold more oxygen. For more information visit the URI Watershed Watch web site and, in particular, read this PDF document on dissolved oxygen.

To run the test, two samples are collected and two tests are run on each sample. The four results are averaged to get the final value. The test used is the modified Winkler titration test. The dates listed below are the Saturday of the weekend on which the data were supposed to be collected. In some cases the samples were collected a few days before or after the date listed. See the detailed results below for the exact dates on which samples were collected.

Dissolved Oxygen (mg/L):

Site 4/19 4/26 5/3 5/10 5/17 5/24 5/31 6/7 6/14 6/21 6/28 7/5 7/12 7/19 7/26 8/2 8/9 8/16 8/30 9/6 9/13 9/20 9/27 10/4
Donigian Park 10.6 9.3 9.3 9.2 9.6 9.5 8.7 8.9 8.7 8.0 7.2 7.4 7.3 7.5 7.4 6.9 7.3 6.9 7.4 7.9 8.0 8.1 7.8 9.2

Dissolved Oxygen (% Saturation):

Site 4/19 4/26 5/3 5/10 5/17 5/24 5/31 6/7 6/14 6/21 6/28 7/5 7/12 7/19 7/26 8/2 8/9 8/16 8/30 9/6 9/13 9/20 9/27 10/4
Donigian Park 98 88 94 93 91 92 90 88 90 90 84 86 83 86 88 84 88 85 83 89 88 91 86 89

Nutrients: Data on nutrients such as nitrogen and phosphorus are determined from samples delivered to URI along with the bacteria samples. However, the nutrient samples are not processed by Watershed Watch until after the end of the monitoring season. The data are typically posted on the URI Watershed Watch website sometime during the winter.


Collection Notes:

Saturday April 19, 2003 :: 8:00AM

Donigian Park, Providence

Data Collected by: Bruce Hooke

Weather: light overcast, gentle wind Water Temperature: 12.0 C (53.6 F)
Rainfall in the past 48 hours*: none Dissolved Oxygen: 10.6 mg/L
Air Temperature: 3.0 C (37.4 F)

Notes: No leaves yet but the trees are flowering and the birds are singing. It's a cloudy morning but it's clearing and the sun is starting to break through?


Saturday April 26, 2003 :: 7:40AM

Donigian Park, Providence

Data Collected by: Bruce Hooke

Weather: heavy overcast, light wind Water Temperature: 13.0 C (55.4 F)
Rainfall in the past 48 hours*: 2mm (0.08") Dissolved Oxygen: 9.3 mg/L
Air Temperature: 12.0 C (53.6 F)

Notes: The trees have a beautiful mist of green on them, made brighter by the wet weather. It is a rainy, damp, gray morning, but there are lots of birds out. A Great Blue Heron and a Mallard took off from the river as I walked up towards the dam; there were, as usual, lots of Starlings in the field, and one Cardinal sang loudly from the top of a tree the whole time I was there. The river level is down a lot from last week, probably due to the dry weather this week, but it will probably be going back up today.


Saturday May 3, 2003 :: 8:00AM

Donigian Park, Providence

Data Collected by: Bruce Hooke

Weather: heavy overcast, moderate wind Water Temperature: 16.0 C (60.8 F)
Rainfall in the past 48 hours*: 5mm (0.2") Dissolved Oxygen: 9.3 mg/L
Air Temperature: 12.0 C (53.6 F)

Notes: A cold and raw morning -- the water felt warm compared to the air. The leaves are coming out on the trees. Brought a friend along to take a few pictures.


Saturday May 10, 2003 :: 8:00AM

Donigian Park, Providence

Data Collected by: Bruce Hooke

Weather: clear, calm wind Water Temperature: 16.0 C (60.8 F)
Rainfall in the past 48 hours*: 4mm (0.16") Dissolved Oxygen: 9.2 mg/L
Air Temperature: 14.0 C (57.2 F)

Notes: Clear blue sky overhead. Birds everywhere. A beautiful morning...


Saturday May 17, 2003 :: 8:00AM

Donigian Park, Providence

Data Collected by: Bruce Hooke

Weather: heavy overcast, gentle wind Water Temperature: 13.0 C (55.4 F)
Rainfall in the past 48 hours*: none Dissolved Oxygen: 9.6 mg/L
Air Temperature: 8.0 C (46.4 F)

Notes: A cold, raw, windy morning, with heavy clouds overhead; but this did not seem to bother a Northern Waterthrush that was working it's way along the muddy bank of the river looking for food. Also saw a Great Blue Heron flying up the river, and a Northern ("Baltimore") Oriole singing from the top of one of the trees along the river. My Mother is visiting this weekend and I brought her along this morning so she could see what I'm doing on the river. She brought her binoculars, without which we would not have been able to identify the Waterthrush.


Saturday May 24, 2003 :: 8:00AM

Donigian Park, Providence

Data Collected by: Bruce Hooke

Weather: heavy overcast, gentle wind Water Temperature: 14.0 C (57.2 F)
Rainfall in the past 48 hours*: 15mm (0.59") Dissolved Oxygen: 9.5 mg/L
Air Temperature: 10.0 C (50 F)

Notes: It's raining, at times only lightly and at times just short of torrentially. When the rain is coming down lightly each raindrop makes a bright circle on the dark water of the river. When it's raining hard the bands of rain undulate across the river in a constantly changing pattern.


Saturday May 31, 2003 :: 8:00AM

Donigian Park, Providence

Data Collected by: Bruce Hooke

Weather: light overcast, calm wind Water Temperature: 17.0 C (62.6 F)
Rainfall in the past 48 hours*: none Dissolved Oxygen: 8.7 mg/L
Air Temperature: 20.0 C (68 F)

Notes: The sun is shining through a thin layer of clouds and for the first time it's warm enough to almost feel like summer. The air is still so the trees, now dense with leaves, are reflected in the smooth moving surface of the river. Saw something swimming in the river, probably a muskrat.


Friday June 6, 2003 :: 6:45AM

Donigian Park, Providence

Data Collected by: Bruce Hooke

Weather: clear, calm wind Water Temperature: 15.0 C (59 F)
Rainfall in the past 48 hours*: 15mm (0.59") Dissolved Oxygen: 8.9 mg/L
Air Temperature: 15.0 C (59 F)

Notes: Beautiful cloudless blue sky. Sunlight sparkling off a heavy dew...


Saturday June 14, 2003 :: 8:00AM

Donigian Park, Providence

Data Collected by: Bruce Hooke

Weather: heavy overcast, calm wind Water Temperature: 17.0 C (62.6 F)
Rainfall in the past 48 hours*: 39mm (1.54") Dissolved Oxygen: 8.7 mg/L
Air Temperature: 15.0 C (59 F)

Notes: The river is brown with mud and running hard after the heavy rain of the last few days. Above the river, the forest is many shades green, green and more green. The willow and cottonwood trees across the river are a pale, sandy green. The wet maple leaves are a deep, rich green; and everything else is somewhere in-between. One flower seems to have leaves that resist the water, so on it's leaves the water balls up into little round droplets that each catch the light and reflect it as a tiny bright spot.


Saturday June 21, 2003 :: 8:00AM

Donigian Park, Providence

Data Collected by: Bruce Hooke

Weather: light overcast, light wind Water Temperature: 21.0 C (69.8 F)
Rainfall in the past 48 hours*: none Dissolved Oxygen: 8.0 mg/L
Air Temperature: 20.0 C (68 F)

Notes: A quiet morning on the river. For the first time in weeks the river level is down. The wind is blowing gently and the sun is shining though a thin overcast. A fine summer morning for the summer solstice, but it looks like some rain may be one the way later.


Sunday June 29, 2003 :: 8:00AM

Donigian Park, Providence

Data Collected by: Bruce Hooke

Weather: heavy overcast, calm wind Water Temperature: 23.0 C (73.4 F)
Rainfall in the past 48 hours*: none Dissolved Oxygen: 7.2 mg/L
Air Temperature: 24.0 C (75.2 F)

Notes: A still, quiet morning on the river. Even the birds, while still around in profusion, seem to be a bit quieter than they were in the spring, when each morning brought forth a cacophony of bird songs.


Thursday July 3, 2003 :: 6:20AM

Donigian Park, Providence

Data Collected by: Bruce Hooke

Weather: clear, calm wind Water Temperature: 23.0 C (73.4 F)
Rainfall in the past 48 hours*: none Dissolved Oxygen: 7.4 mg/L
Air Temperature: 22.0 C (71.6 F)

Notes: I'm on the river early this morning, in time to enjoy the beautiful light from the newly risen sun. The light coming through the trees is making wonderful patterns on the riverbank. At the monitoring site a golden light is shining on the underside of the leaves on a towering sycamore tree next to the river, and the same light catches the white on the underside of the wings of a pigeon flying high over the river. Looking down-river the water surface is black where it is reflecting the trees and silver where it is reflecting the sky. A white mulberry tree surprises me by dropping its berrylike fruits into the river next to me as I am collecting the water samples.


Saturday July 12, 2003 :: 7:15AM

Donigian Park, Providence

Data Collected by: Bruce Hooke

Weather: heavy overcast, calm wind Water Temperature: 22.0 C (71.6 F)
Rainfall in the past 48 hours*: 10mm (0.39") Dissolved Oxygen: 7.3 mg/L
Air Temperature: 20.0 C (68 F)

Notes: Thick fog this morning! Everything not close to me is shrouded in gray, from the trees up the river to the sky overhead, so the world feels drawn in close around me, in a warm, dark, sheltering sort of way. The mulberry tree is still raining "berries" into the river. Surprisingly, many seem to sink because I can see them around all the rocks on the bottom. A tree across the river is covered with pink flowers.


Thursday July 17, 2003 :: 6:15AM

Donigian Park, Providence

Data Collected by: Bruce Hooke

Weather: clear, calm wind Water Temperature: 22.0 C (71.6 F)
Rainfall in the past 48 hours*: 16mm (0.63") Dissolved Oxygen: 7.5 mg/L
Air Temperature: 19.0 C (66.2 F)

Notes: While the sun is coming up over the eastern horizon, a three-quarter moon is descending towards the trees, and towards its own reflection in the dark waters of the river. As the sun gets higher, its light starts to filter down to the forest floor and to the surface of the river. On the fast water below the dam the spots of sunlight on the river create brilliant white highlights.


Saturday July 26, 2003 :: 8:00AM

Donigian Park, Providence

Data Collected by: Bruce Hooke

Weather: clear, calm wind Water Temperature: 24.0 C (75.2 F)
Rainfall in the past 48 hours*: 8mm (0.32") Dissolved Oxygen: 7.4 mg/L
Air Temperature: 24.0 C (75.2 F)

Notes: The day is just getting started and already it's hot outside. The sun feels like a furnace and the relative cool of the shade under the trees next to the river is most welcome. However, the sunlight reflecting off the river is creating beautiful patterns on the rock wall next to the river and on the undersides of the leaves on the trees above the wall. Sitting on the rocks in the sun is a tiny purple damselfly. His entire body is purple except at the very back end where it fades to blue, and his eyes are huge bulging knobs. He does not move while I stand in the river and inspect his beautiful colors from about 12 inches away.


Monday August 4, 2003 :: 7:00AM

Donigian Park, Providence

Data Collected by: Bruce Hooke

Weather: heavy overcast, gentle wind Water Temperature: 25.0 C (77 F)
Rainfall in the past 48 hours*: 4mm (0.16") Dissolved Oxygen: 6.9 mg/L
Air Temperature: 26.0 C (78.8 F)

Notes: This morning has the feeling of an approaching storm. The sky is a heavy, uniform gray, and a gusty wind is blowing up the river. The clouds are low and moving fast across the sky. However, as I am getting ready to leave a few small holes in the clouds reveal blue sky on the other side, suggesting that sun and blue skies are not so far away. A female mallard and five ducklings paddle downstream under the bridge as I wade across the river to clean the gage board.


Saturday August 9, 2003 :: 6:30AM

Donigian Park, Providence

Data Collected by: Bruce Hooke

Weather: heavy overcast, calm wind Water Temperature: 25.0 C (77 F)
Rainfall in the past 48 hours*: 83mm (3.27") Dissolved Oxygen: 7.3 mg/L
Air Temperature: 24.0 C (75.2 F)

Notes: There is a lot of water coming down the river this morning! Last week I could see the bottom clearly. This week the water is brown and murky, and it pushes against me as I wade out into the river. The air is warm, dense and still and occasional showers pass through as I collect the samples. I watched a mallard float right to the lip of the dam before taking off and landing below the dam.


Saturday August 16, 2003 :: 7:30AM

Donigian Park, Providence

Data Collected by: Bruce Hooke

Weather: clear, calm wind Water Temperature: 26.0 C (78.8 F)
Rainfall in the past 48 hours*: none Dissolved Oxygen: 6.9 mg/L
Air Temperature: 25.0 C (77 F)

Notes: A tranquil summer morning. The river is back down to a more normal level after last weekend's high water. The air is still and warming up quickly as the sun climbs above the trees. Looking up through the trees, the sky is bright blue.


Friday August 29, 2003 :: 6:15AM

Donigian Park, Providence

Data Collected by: Bruce Hooke

Weather: clear, calm wind Water Temperature: 21.0 C (69.8 F)
Rainfall in the past 48 hours*: none Dissolved Oxygen: 7.4 mg/L
Air Temperature: 15.0 C (59 F)

Notes: For the first time since early summer it feels downright chilly out this morning. The river water seems warm by comparison. The hints are here that summer is fading into fall. The sunrise is getting later too; I'm at the river in time to see the first orange light from the sun hitting the trees, as the sun creeps up over the horizon to welcome in what promises to be a beautiful end of summer day.


Saturday September 6, 2003 :: 7:15AM

Donigian Park, Providence

Data Collected by: Bruce Hooke

Weather: clear, calm wind Water Temperature: 21.0 C (69.8 F)
Rainfall in the past 48 hours*: 10mm (0.39") Dissolved Oxygen: 7.9 mg/L
Air Temperature: 17.0 C (62.6 F)

Notes: A grand and glorious morning. The air is crisp and the sky is brilliant blue. Fall is definitely on the way.


Saturday September 13, 2003 :: 7:00AM

Donigian Park, Providence

Data Collected by: Bruce Hooke

Weather: heavy overcast, gentle wind Water Temperature: 20.0 C (68 F)
Rainfall in the past 48 hours*: none Dissolved Oxygen: 8.0 mg/L
Air Temperature: 18.0 C (64.4 F)

Notes: It is a gray, damp morning that gives every impression of rain on the way. When I arrived at the site this morning there were a few hints of blue in the sky, but now it is a uniform gray overhead. A fitful breeze is blowing -- hitting different trees at different times and alternately setting the leaves and branches into motion and leaving everything still and calm.


Friday September 19, 2003 :: 6:15AM

Donigian Park, Providence

Data Collected by: Bruce Hooke

Weather: heavy overcast, gentle wind Water Temperature: 21.0 C (69.8 F)
Rainfall in the past 48 hours*: none Dissolved Oxygen: 8.1 mg/L
Air Temperature: 21.0 C (69.8 F)

Notes: I arrived at the river before sunrise, so under the trees it was still quite dark, but a bank of white flowers next to the path glowed like there was a light shining on it. Sunrise revealed low, gray clouds and early rain showers from the former hurricane Isabel, now tropical storm Isabel, which is currently centered over western Pennsylvania and headed north towards New York and Canada.


Saturday September 27, 2003 :: 8:00AM

Donigian Park, Providence

Data Collected by: Bruce Hooke

Weather: heavy overcast, calm wind Water Temperature: 20.0 C (68 F)
Rainfall in the past 48 hours*: none Dissolved Oxygen: 7.8 mg/L
Air Temperature: 19.0 C (66.2 F)

Notes: It's a still, foggy morning. The only movement on the surface of the river is tiny ripples from water drops falling off a tree. Even the leaves at the tops of the trees appear almost frozen in place most of the time. However, just once, out of nowhere, a cold breeze sneaks down through the trees to where I am next to the river, as if to serve as a subtle reminder that it is now officially fall and colder weather is on the way.


Saturday October 4, 2003 :: 7:00AM

Donigian Park, Providence

Data Collected by: Bruce Hooke

Weather: light overcast, calm wind Water Temperature: 14.0 C (57.2 F)
Rainfall in the past 48 hours*: none Dissolved Oxygen: 9.2 mg/L
Air Temperature: 10.0 C (50 F)

Notes: I can see my breath this morning and the air has the crispness that I remember from the spring, when I started the monitoring season; only now the sunrise is revealing a beautiful fall morning that will mark the end of the monitoring season. The river is low and quiet this morning, in contrast to the high water of the spring and early summer, and the water is cold again, as it was back in April. The still water above the dam perfectly reflects the blue sky and white clouds overhead. A few minutes ago, as I was getting close to the end of my tests, the sun suddenly broke through some low clouds on the horizon and bathed me, the river, the trees, and everything else in its brilliant light.


* Note: Rainfall amounts are recorded at a rain gauge in western Providence or at other rain gauges in the area. These rainfall amounts should be view as approximations.

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