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Water Quality Data for 2005

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

  1. Greystone Pond, Johnston - N. Providence
  2. 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

Enterococci (count per 100 ml):

Site July August September October
Greystone Pond 1960 52 44 280
Donigian Park 1980 180 380 4120


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 5/14 5/28 6/11 6/25 7/9 7/23 8/6 8/20 9/3 9/10 9/24 10/8 10/15
Greystone Pond 8.1 9.0 5.3 4.0 6.9 3.6 2.7 2.6 2.9 3.1 3.3 7.6 7.8
Donigian Park 8.8 9.3 6.4 6.2 7.6 5.4 5.1 5.5 6.2 6.5 6.1 8.4 8.8

Dissolved Oxygen (% Saturation):

Site 5/14 5/28 6/11 6/25 7/9 7/23 8/6 8/20 9/3 9/10 9/24 10/8 10/15
Greystone Pond 80 87 61 46 77 44 33 30 34 35 36 80 81
Donigian Park 87 92 76 74 84 67 62 62 71 74 67 89 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 May 14, 2005 :: 6:45AM

Greystone Pond, Johnston - N. Providence

Data Collected by: Bruce Hooke

Weather: light overcast, light wind Water Temperature: 15.0 C (59 F)
Rainfall in the past 48 hours*: none Dissolved Oxygen: 8.1 mg/L
Air Temperature: 11.0 C (51.8 F)

Notes: The morning started out cloudy but now the sun is looking like it will break through, at least for a while. The water is moving faster here in Greystone than it does at Donigian so even though it is much shallower here, it pushes me and my equipment around as it rushes past me on its way to the bay.

Saturday May 14, 2005 :: 7:50AM

Donigian Park, Providence

Data Collected by: Bruce Hooke

Weather: light overcast, light wind Water Temperature: 15.0 C (59 F)
Rainfall in the past 48 hours*: none Dissolved Oxygen: 8.8 mg/L
Air Temperature: 12.0 C (53.6 F)

Notes: It's the first monitoring day of the 2005 season and I was welcomed to the site by a great blue heron fishing below the dam. Leastwise I took at as a welcome and a good omen; the heron was less pleased and flew away up the river! I trust he will be back. After a brief spot of sun the day is turning cloudy, but it is still nice to be out on the river.


Saturday May 28, 2005 :: 6:30AM

Greystone Pond, Johnston - N. Providence

Data Collected by: Bruce Hooke

Weather: clear, calm wind Water Temperature: 14.0 C (57.2 F)
Rainfall in the past 48 hours*: 7mm (0.28") Dissolved Oxygen: 9.0 mg/L
Air Temperature: 12.0 C (53.6 F)

Notes: A gorgeous spring morning: the sun is shining, the birds are singing, the sky is blue, and everything is glistening from last night's rain (and the eight days of rain and clouds before that!). As a result of all the rain there is a lot of water coming down the river, which made it somewhat challenging filling the sample bottles without losing the bottle or the lid or my footing.

Saturday May 28, 2005 :: 7:45AM

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*: 7mm (0.28") Dissolved Oxygen: 9.3 mg/L
Air Temperature: 16.0 C (60.8 F)

Notes: The sun is so warm it almost feels like summer this morning, but the temperature of the water is a reminder that it is indeed still spring! The river is both high and rather dirty looking this morning -- lots of sediment and particulate matter floating in the water.


Monday June 13, 2005 :: 6:00AM

Greystone Pond, Johnston - N. Providence

Data Collected by: Bruce Hooke

Weather: light overcast, light wind Water Temperature: 22.0 C (71.6 F)
Rainfall in the past 48 hours*: none Dissolved Oxygen: 5.3 mg/L
Air Temperature: 23.0 C (73.4 F)

Notes: A quiet, overcast morning. There are lots of birds calling but they have a more subdued feeling than the raucous chorus I remember from the spring. There are lots of small insects in the air above the river, and apparently higher up as well, given the number of swallows flying around up there .

Monday June 13, 2005 :: 7:10AM

Donigian Park, Providence

Data Collected by: Bruce Hooke

Weather: light overcast, calm wind Water Temperature: 24.0 C (75.2 F)
Rainfall in the past 48 hours*: none Dissolved Oxygen: 6.4 mg/L
Air Temperature: 23.0 C (73.4 F)

Notes: A still summer morning on the river. The water level is way down from past weeks and the water temperature is much higher, reflecting the abrupt switch to hotter, drier (but very humid!) weather in the last couple of weeks. The morning has an uncertain feel to it; sometimes the sun seems like it will come out, and sometimes it looks like rain is on the way. We'll see what the day brings.


Sunday June 26, 2005 :: 6:10AM

Greystone Pond, Johnston - N. Providence

Data Collected by: Bruce Hooke

Weather: clear, calm wind Water Temperature: 22.0 C (71.6 F)
Rainfall in the past 48 hours*: none Dissolved Oxygen: 4.0 mg/L
Air Temperature: 22.0 C (71.6 F)

Notes: The morning is still and calm as only a summer morning before a hot and humid day can be still and calm. Summer is definitely in full swing now. With each passing week there seems to be more algae and related plant life growing on the river bottom and floating in the river. The pond above the dam is green with algae and duckweed. The signs of this can be seen in the dissolved oxygen readings, which are dropping close to the levels at which aquatic animals cannot survive.

Sunday June 26, 2005 :: 7:15AM

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*: none Dissolved Oxygen: 6.2 mg/L
Air Temperature: 25.0 C (77 F)

Notes: The breeze this morning is so gentle that it only occasionally gathers enough strength to stir the leaves on the trees. None-the-less, the mulberry tree is dropping white mulberries into the river at a great rate. Half a dozen or more landed within a few feet of me while I was collecting my water samples, and there must be a red mulberry upstream because I've seen a number of red mulberries floating by too. The big sycamore by the river is finally getting close to fully leafed out, which is nice to see because I was getting worried about it.


Sunday July 10, 2005 :: 7:50AM

Greystone Pond, Johnston - N. Providence

Data Collected by: Bruce Hooke

Weather: clear, gentle wind Water Temperature: 21.0 C (69.8 F)
Rainfall in the past 48 hours*: 13mm (0.51") Dissolved Oxygen: 6.9 mg/L
Air Temperature: 22.0 C (71.6 F)

Notes: The pond is now largely clear of duckweed except for occasional patches around the shore. The water level is also higher as a result of the recent rain. However, this morning the air is warming up fast and it shaping up to be a hot, sunny summer day, in stark contrast with the unusually cool and damp weather just a few days ago. As I was collecting my water samples a mallard with six ducklings swam past me headed downstream.

Sunday July 10, 2005 :: 6:30AM

Donigian Park, Providence

Data Collected by: Bruce Hooke

Weather: clear, calm wind Water Temperature: 20.0 C (68 F)
Rainfall in the past 48 hours*: 13mm (0.51") Dissolved Oxygen: 7.6 mg/L
Air Temperature: 20.0 C (68 F)

Notes: The river is high and dirty from the recent rain, but it is a sunny day today. The mulberry tree is still dropping berries (one hit me on the head), but at a slightly slower pace than two weeks ago. I saw a muskrat cutting across the river a little ways upstream where I think he may have a burrow, and later I saw a duck paddling downstream leaving a thin silvery wake behind.


Saturday July 23, 2005 :: 8:00AM

Greystone Pond, Johnston - N. Providence

Data Collected by: Bruce Hooke

Weather: clear, light wind Water Temperature: 25.0 C (77 F)
Rainfall in the past 48 hours*: trace Dissolved Oxygen: 3.6 mg/L
Air Temperature: 24.0 C (75.2 F)

Notes: A beautiful breezy morning that at first felt cool but is warming up fast now! There is still quite a bit of duckweed around the edges of the pond. The dissolved oxygen level is again lower than would be desirable, but not so low that aquatic animals cannot survive.

Saturday July 23, 2005 :: 7:00AM

Donigian Park, Providence

Data Collected by: Bruce Hooke

Weather: clear, light wind Water Temperature: 26.0 C (78.8 F)
Rainfall in the past 48 hours*: trace Dissolved Oxygen: 5.4 mg/L
Air Temperature: 23.0 C (73.4 F)

Notes: A stunningly beautiful morning! A cold front came through last night and cleared out the hazy weather we have been having recently, and now the sky is brilliant blue and a nice breeze is blowing. While it is not exactly cool, it is nowhere near as hot as it has been recently.


Saturday August 6, 2005 :: 6:05AM

Greystone Pond, Johnston - N. Providence

Data Collected by: Bruce Hooke

Weather: clear, light wind Water Temperature: 25.0 C (77 F)
Rainfall in the past 48 hours*: none Dissolved Oxygen: 2.7 mg/L
Air Temperature: 19.0 C (66.2 F)

Notes: Yesterday was the hottest day to date this summer, with highs in the mid to high 90's, but a cold front came through in the evening and cooled things off quite nicely. None-the-less, the hot, dry weather is taking its toll on the river: the water levels are down from earlier in the summer and the water temperature is high. The dissolved oxygen levels are dangerously low now and the pond above the dam is once again largely covered with duckweed, as it was in late June.

Saturday August 6, 2005 :: 7:20AM

Donigian Park, Providence

Data Collected by: Bruce Hooke

Weather: clear, light wind Water Temperature: 25.0 C (77 F)
Rainfall in the past 48 hours*: none Dissolved Oxygen: 5.1 mg/L
Air Temperature: 23.0 C (73.4 F)

Notes: The river is definitely in high summer "mode" -- the current is very slow and the water going over the dam is broken up into isolated, delicate cascades, very different from the thundering turmoil you see here when the river is high. The sun coming through the trees on the other side of the river casts ever changing patterns of light and shadow on the water.


Friday August 19, 2005 :: 6:20AM

Greystone Pond, Johnston - N. Providence

Data Collected by: Bruce Hooke

Weather: clear, calm wind Water Temperature: 22.0 C (71.6 F)
Rainfall in the past 48 hours*: none Dissolved Oxygen: 2.6 mg/L
Air Temperature: 17.0 C (62.6 F)

Notes: There is a definite nip in the air, which leaves no doubt that summer is fading, but three months ago 63 degrees would have felt warm so summer is not over yet! While I was collecting my water samples I saw two small crayfish-like creatures sparring with each other as well as a chubby five-inch long fish darting from one hiding place to another and a school of smaller fish nervously roaming around under the bridge. The pond is still covered in a solid matt of duckweed, and the dissolved oxygen levels are low, so it is good to see that there is still plenty of aquatic life around.

Friday August 19, 2005 :: 7:40AM

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: 5.5 mg/L
Air Temperature: 20.0 C (68 F)

Notes: The river is about as low as I have ever seen it. The face of the dam is dry and the only water going past the dam is going through the old sluice gate. However, cirrus clouds ("mare's tails") are starting to sweep across the sky so maybe we are finally in for some rain.


Saturday September 3, 2005 :: 7:10AM

Greystone Pond, Johnston - N. 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: 2.9 mg/L
Air Temperature: 17.0 C (62.6 F)

Notes: A sparklingly clear morning very appropriate for Labor Day weekend and the unofficial start of Fall. While I was collecting my water samples, I saw another of the same crawfish-like creatures that I saw here list time. There is a lot of duckweed coming down the river but much less of the pond is covered with it now than in past weeks.

Saturday September 3, 2005 :: 8:15AM

Donigian Park, Providence

Data Collected by: Bruce Hooke

Weather: clear, light wind Water Temperature: 22.0 C (71.6 F)
Rainfall in the past 48 hours*: none Dissolved Oxygen: 6.2 mg/L
Air Temperature: 21.0 C (69.8 F)

Notes: The river is still low but at least there is water coming over the dam again. In fact at this water level the the rough face of the dam is a very pretty staircase like waterfall as the water bounces off high spots on the face of the dam and arcs down to find the next spot to bounce out from. Pretty as it is, however, for the overall river more water would definitely be better.


Friday September 9, 2005 :: 7:30AM

Greystone Pond, Johnston - N. Providence

Data Collected by: Bruce Hooke

Weather: light overcast, light wind Water Temperature: 22.0 C (71.6 F)
Rainfall in the past 48 hours*: none Dissolved Oxygen: 3.1 mg/L
Air Temperature: 19.0 C (66.2 F)

Notes: The morning is clouding up now and has a somewhat indefinite feeling to it. The sun is still visible through the clouds, but casts no shadows. As usual, lots of birds, from ducks to cormorants to small songbirds are active around the pond. The amount of duckweed on the pond continues to drop, but there is still quite a bit of it around.

Friday September 9, 2005 :: 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*: none Dissolved Oxygen: 6.5 mg/L
Air Temperature: 19.0 C (66.2 F)

Notes: Earlier in the summer it would have been bright and sunny at this time in the morning. Today I'm watching the sunrise colors develop as I collect my samples. The river level is just a bit lower than last week, but there is still water going over the face of the dam. I saw fish jumping in the river above the dam, which is not something I remember seeing before.


Tuesday September 27, 2005 :: 6:00AM

Greystone Pond, Johnston - N. Providence

Data Collected by: Bruce Hooke

Weather: clear, light wind Water Temperature: 20.0 C (68 F)
Rainfall in the past 48 hours*: 14mm (0.55") Dissolved Oxygen: 3.3 mg/L
Air Temperature: 19.0 C (66.2 F)

Notes: Dawn is just breaking and there is lots of morning activity around the pond, including a muskrat diving for his breakfast, a heron flying by, and various other ducks, geese, and small birds flitting and floating around. I can hear the muskrat crunching on his breakfast when he comes to the surface.

Tuesday September 27, 2005 :: 7:15AM

Donigian Park, Providence

Data Collected by: Bruce Hooke

Weather: clear, gentle wind Water Temperature: 20.0 C (68 F)
Rainfall in the past 48 hours*: 14mm (0.55") Dissolved Oxygen: 6.1 mg/L
Air Temperature: 19.0 C (66.2 F)

Notes: It is a beautiful morning! The sun is catching the edges of the clouds, the sky is deep blue, and everything is wet from last night's rain. Unfortunately, because of the rain, the river water can only be described as disgusting. There is an oily film on the water, as well as lots of stuff that looks like sewage floating in the water, and a nasty smell, especially where the water gets churned up near the dam.


Sunday October 9, 2005 :: 7:15AM

Greystone Pond, Johnston - N. Providence

Data Collected by: Bruce Hooke

Weather: heavy overcast, light wind Water Temperature: 18.0 C (64.4 F)
Rainfall in the past 48 hours*: 31mm (1.22") Dissolved Oxygen: 7.6 mg/L
Air Temperature: 13.0 C (55.4 F)

Notes: What a change from two weeks ago! After a Fall that on many mornings could have past for August, it now feels like November: cold, raw and damp. But part of me likes this kind of weather; it lets me know I'm alive by "pushing back" a bit. All the rain yesterday and last night has also transformed the river from a low, quiet, late-summer river into a raging torrent of muddy brown water. None-the-less, as I was leaving the site I saw a beautiful, white Great Egret flying down the river.

Sunday October 9, 2005 :: 8:20AM

Donigian Park, Providence

Data Collected by: Bruce Hooke

Weather: heavy overcast, light wind Water Temperature: 18.0 C (64.4 F)
Rainfall in the past 48 hours*: 31mm (1.22") Dissolved Oxygen: 8.4 mg/L
Air Temperature: 13.0 C (55.4 F)

Notes: The river is running high and dirty this morning. At the moment, the rain has stopped for a little while, but it is still damp and cool, and the sky is a dense, uniform mass of gray cloud that appears to be just beyond the tops of the trees.


Friday October 14, 2005 :: 6:45AM

Greystone Pond, Johnston - N. Providence

Data Collected by: Bruce Hooke

Weather: heavy overcast, light wind Water Temperature: 17.0 C (62.6 F)
Rainfall in the past 48 hours*: 40mm (1.58") Dissolved Oxygen: 7.8 mg/L
Air Temperature: 16.0 C (60.8 F)

Notes: It has been raining for a week now so the river is high but it is actually a shade lower than it was a week ago, maybe because the recent rain has been slow and steady rather than hard and fast. The pond above the dam has been pretty well swept clear of duckweed, and the dissolved oxygen levels have shot up in the last few weeks. A few of the trees have started to change color and that combined with the rust and tans of the marsh plants creates quite a pretty scene even on this damp, gray October morning.

Friday October 14, 2005 :: 8:15AM

Donigian Park, Providence

Data Collected by: Bruce Hooke

Weather: heavy overcast, light wind Water Temperature: 16.0 C (60.8 F)
Rainfall in the past 48 hours*: 40mm (1.58") Dissolved Oxygen: 8.8 mg/L
Air Temperature: 16.0 C (60.8 F)

Notes: This brings to a close another season of water quality monitoring on the Woonasquatucket. The river is high and muddy but it is not nearly as disgusting as it was three weeks ago, maybe because the rain has been slow and steady so the sewer system has been better able to handle the rainwater. It is warm enough out this morning that it could easily be summer, but the yellow leaves on the ground tell another story. Maybe it is suitable that a season of water quality monitoring should end on a wet, rainy morning because without the rain there would be no river, but too much water can also be a problem!


* 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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