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Water Quality Data for 2006

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 61 enterococci (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 May June July August September October
Greystone Pond 146 34.2 69.5 235.9 14.5 30.1
Donigian Park 63 55 72.8 307.6 58.3 44.3

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 5/6 5/20 6/3 6/17 7/1 7/15 7/29 8/12 8/26 9/9 9/23 9/30 10/14 10/28
Greystone Pond 8.9 9.0 7.1 7.5 6.9 6.2 5.9 - 7.2 - 7.3 7.2 8.5 8.7
Donigian Park 9.4 9.7 9.1 8.6 8.1 7.6 7.1 7.6 7.7 7.9 8.5 8.6 9.9 11.0

Dissolved Oxygen (% Saturation):

Site 5/6 5/20 6/3 6/17 7/1 7/15 7/29 8/12 8/26 9/9 9/23 9/30 10/14 10/28
Greystone Pond 86 87 82 82 79 72 69 - 75 - 75 71 77 77
Donigian Park 91 94 96 95 94 90 88 87 86 89 90 89 92 102

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:

Wednesday May 10, 2006 :: 7:45AM

Greystone Pond, Johnston - N. Providence

Data Collected by: Caroline Brown

Weather: heavy overcast, gentle wind Water Temperature: 13.9 C (57 F)
Rainfall in the past 48 hours*: 6mm (0.24") Dissolved Oxygen: 8.9 mg/L

Wednesday May 10, 2006 :: 7:30AM

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*: 6mm (0.24") Dissolved Oxygen: 9.4 mg/L
Air Temperature: 12.0 C (53.6 F)

Notes: It's the first day of the 2006 monitoring season and it's a classic spring day: raw, damp and windy! A great blue heron flew up from below the dam as I was walking up to the site. After I collected my samples I saw something swimming in the river well upstream from the dam; probably a muskrat. Below the dam there have been some major changes to the river channel, probably as a result of the flooding last fall. What had been a small bar on the east side of the river is now a much higher and more extensive gravel bar that forces the river channel over against the west bank. Downstream, around the bend, there is also much more sediment piled up against the south bank of the river. Here the new sediment appears to be mostly sand and silt.


Thursday May 18, 2006 :: 7:30AM

Greystone Pond, Johnston - N. Providence

Data Collected by: Caroline Brown

Weather: light overcast, calm wind Water Temperature: 14.0 C (57.2 F)
Rainfall in the past 48 hours*: none Dissolved Oxygen: 9.0 mg/L
Air Temperature: 15.2 C (59.4 F)

Thursday May 18, 2006 :: 6:20AM

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: 9.7 mg/L
Air Temperature: 13.0 C (55.4 F)

Notes: The light this morning is beautiful. The low sun shining through a layer of clouds is giving the morning light a soft, delicate quality that highlights all the different shades of green in the leaves. The river is high and turbid from the recent rains, but not as high as it was a couple of days ago.


Friday June 2, 2006 :: 7:50AM

Greystone Pond, Johnston - N. Providence

Data Collected by: Caroline Brown

Weather: heavy overcast, light wind Water Temperature: 22.3 C (72.1 F)
Rainfall in the past 48 hours*: 4mm (0.16") Dissolved Oxygen: 7.1 mg/L
Air Temperature: 19.0 C (66.2 F)

Monday June 5, 2006 :: 7:15AM

Donigian Park, Providence

Data Collected by: Bruce Hooke

Weather: light overcast, calm wind Water Temperature: 18.0 C (64.4 F)
Rainfall in the past 48 hours*: 20mm (0.79") Dissolved Oxygen: 9.1 mg/L
Air Temperature: 17.0 C (62.6 F)

Notes: The sun is breaking through the clouds but the river is still high from the recent rains. The trees are taking on a more summer-like feeling; the green of the leaves looks more muted, but maybe it is just that green no longer seem as shocking as it did after months of looking at the subtle browns and grays and whites of winter. The giant sycamore next to the river is still leafing out so in that sense at least it is still spring.


Thursday June 15, 2006 :: 12:00AM

Greystone Pond, Johnston - N. Providence

Data Collected by: Caroline Brown

Weather: heavy overcast, light wind Water Temperature: 20.0 C (68 F)
Rainfall in the past 48 hours*: 1mm (0.04") Dissolved Oxygen: 7.5 mg/L
Air Temperature: 17.0 C (62.6 F)

Thursday June 15, 2006 :: 7:15AM

Donigian Park, Providence

Data Collected by: Bruce Hooke

Weather: heavy overcast, light wind Water Temperature: 20.0 C (68 F)
Rainfall in the past 48 hours*: 1mm (0.04") Dissolved Oxygen: 8.6 mg/L
Air Temperature: 18.0 C (64.4 F)

Notes: There are some occasional sprinkles of rain falling this morning, but not enough to have much impact on the level of the river, which has finally gone down to something at least approaching normal after the flooding of last week. The water is also much clearer than it has been recently. Looking down at my feet as I am collecting the samples, I can clearly see the gravelly bottom of the river quite clearly.


Sunday July 2, 2006 :: 12:00AM

Greystone Pond, Johnston - N. Providence

Data Collected by: Caroline Brown

Weather: clear, light wind Water Temperature: 22.0 C (71.6 F)
Rainfall in the past 48 hours*: none Dissolved Oxygen: 6.9 mg/L
Air Temperature: 23.3 C (73.9 F)

Saturday July 1, 2006 :: 6:30AM

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*: trace Dissolved Oxygen: 8.1 mg/L
Air Temperature: 20.0 C (68 F)

Notes: What a beautiful morning! The sun is shining through the trees, lighting up the spray below the dam, a morning glory is blooming on the rock wall beside the river, and the water in the river is warm and clear. I saw at least two muskrats, one hunched up in a ball munching on some plants near the Valley Street bridge, and one (or more) swiming in the river above the dam. I was also treated to the sight of a bit of greenery making its way slowly upstream near the bank. I presume it was being towed by a muskrat! Underwater I saw a small fish darting about and a good size crayfish hiding behind a rock.


Saturday July 15, 2006 :: 7:10AM

Greystone Pond, Johnston - N. Providence

Data Collected by: Caroline Brown

Weather: clear, calm wind Water Temperature: 23.0 C (73.4 F)
Rainfall in the past 48 hours*: none Dissolved Oxygen: 6.2 mg/L
Air Temperature: 23.0 C (73.4 F)

Saturday July 15, 2006 :: 8:00AM

Donigian Park, Providence

Data Collected by: Bruce Hooke

Weather: clear, light wind Water Temperature: 24.0 C (75.2 F)
Rainfall in the past 48 hours*: none Dissolved Oxygen: 7.6 mg/L
Air Temperature: 26.0 C (78.8 F)

Notes: Summer is definitely here. The sun has only been up for a few hours and already it feels hot. The surface of the river above the dam looks like it is moving in slow motion, as if the river was made of molasses. Fortunately it is not and the water today is actually quite clear. While looking for freshwater clams (I found one invasive Asiatic clam) I found a small chunk of coal, a relic of the days when the factories along the river, and the railroads that served them, both used coal to power steam engines.


Friday July 28, 2006 :: 8:25AM

Greystone Pond, Johnston - N. Providence

Data Collected by: Caroline Brown

Weather: clear, calm wind Water Temperature: 23.5 C (74.3 F)
Rainfall in the past 48 hours*: none Dissolved Oxygen: 5.9 mg/L
Air Temperature: 23.0 C (73.4 F)

Friday July 28, 2006 :: 5:40AM

Donigian Park, Providence

Data Collected by: Bruce Hooke

Weather: light overcast, calm wind Water Temperature: 26.0 C (78.8 F)
Rainfall in the past 48 hours*: none Dissolved Oxygen: 7.1 mg/L
Air Temperature: 26.0 C (78.8 F)

Notes: It is a warm, hazy, and windless summer morning, and it looks like another hot day is on the way. Even the birds seem to be quieter than usual today, maybe just because summer is getting on and the mating and nesting season is wrapping up, so there is less need to proclaim a territory. However, there is still activity to be seen at the river. The muskrat is out and about, and ripples coming from a spot near the bank led me to a good size snapping turtle that was yanking and tugging at the pickerel weed, presumably because he was eating it for breakfast. At one point he raised his head above the water and exhaled, and the air coming out of his nostrils created two thin lines of ripples radiating away from his head.


Tuesday August 22, 2006 :: 7:45AM

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

Notes: From the look of the trees and the look of the low, slow moving river, summer gives every appearance of still being in full swing, but there is a slight coolness to the air this morning, which hints at the fact that Labor Day and the unofficial start of fall is a little less than two weeks away. The leaves do look dustier and drier than they did in the spring but that may in part be my eyes, because in May green was an electrifying color after months of the whites, grays and browns of winter, whereas now green is the norm and white is reserved largely for the clouds.


Saturday August 26, 2006 :: 7:40AM

Greystone Pond, Johnston - N. Providence

Data Collected by: Caroline Brown

Weather: light overcast, light wind Water Temperature: 17.5 C (63.5 F)
Rainfall in the past 48 hours*: 8mm (0.32") Dissolved Oxygen: 7.2 mg/L
Air Temperature: 17.5 C (63.5 F)

Saturday August 26, 2006 :: 6:45AM

Donigian Park, Providence

Data Collected by: Bruce Hooke

Weather: clear, light wind Water Temperature: 21.0 C (69.8 F)
Rainfall in the past 48 hours*: 8mm (0.32") Dissolved Oxygen: 7.7 mg/L
Air Temperature: 18.0 C (64.4 F)

Notes: When I woke up this morning and looked out the window the whole sky had a golden glow to it. Half an hour later, at the river, the sky had lost its glow but the low sunlight hitting the plants along the riverbank still had a golden feel to it. To add to the effect, the sunlight was also reflecting off the river and lighting the underside of the tree leaves with a shimmering light, and to cap things off a bright yellow goldfinch stopped by while I was processing the disolved oxygen samples.

All this gold brought to mind Pete Seeger's song about rivers, which also brings to mind all the work he has put into restoring the Hudson River:

Sailing down my golden river
Sun and water all my own
Yet I was never alone.
Sun and water, old life-givers
I'll have them where'er I roam
And I was not far from home.

Sunlight glancing on the water
Life and death are all my own
And I was never alone.
Life to raise my sons and daughters
Golden sparkles in the foam
And I was not far from home.

Sailing down this winding highway
Travellers from near and far
Yet I was never alone.
Exploring all the little by-ways
Sighting all the distant stars
Yet I was not far from home.

- Pete Seeger (1962)


Saturday September 9, 2006 :: 7:48AM

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

Notes: The surface of the river is so smooth that looking up stream it seems to disappear. In its place is a perfect reflection of the trees above, creating a wall of green and brown into which the river vanishes. There is a haziness to the air and a softness to the morning light that feels very summerlike. Only now, with fall just around the corner, this gives the morning a nostaligic, bittersweet quality. Soon, the stillness and quiet of summer mornings will be replaced by the calm of cold winter dawns.

Today, a few minutes ago, a hawk flew up the river. I did not see what kind it was.


Sunday September 24, 2006 :: 8:25AM

Greystone Pond, Johnston - N. Providence

Data Collected by: Caroline Brown

Weather: heavy overcast, light wind Water Temperature: 17.0 C (62.6 F)
Rainfall in the past 48 hours*: 1mm (0.04") Dissolved Oxygen: 7.3 mg/L
Air Temperature: 21.0 C (69.8 F)

Saturday September 23, 2006 :: 8:00AM

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*: none Dissolved Oxygen: 8.5 mg/L
Air Temperature: 17.0 C (62.6 F)

Notes: Today is the fall equinox, and the river looks ominously gray this morning, probably just because it is reflecting the low gray clouds overhead. Just this moment those clouds started sending down fine raindrops to speckle the surface of the river. The rain only lasted a few minutes but from the look of the clouds, more is on the way. In the meantime, in case I was not certain about the season, a yellow leaf came down and bonked me on the shoulder, and then fell at my feet.

A beautiful moment just happened. Five ducks flew low over the dam and then landed together, momentarily streaking the smooth water with their wakes. Now a cormorant is coming downstream, fishing as he goes. A busy day in the city!


Thursday September 28, 2006 :: 8:15AM

Greystone Pond, Johnston - N. Providence

Data Collected by: Caroline Brown

Weather: clear, calm wind Water Temperature: 15.0 C (59 F)
Rainfall in the past 48 hours*: none Dissolved Oxygen: 7.2 mg/L
Air Temperature: 12.2 C (54 F)

Thursday September 28, 2006 :: 7:50AM

Donigian Park, Providence

Data Collected by: Bruce Hooke

Weather: clear, calm wind Water Temperature: 17.0 C (62.6 F)
Rainfall in the past 48 hours*: none Dissolved Oxygen: 8.6 mg/L
Air Temperature: 14.0 C (57.2 F)

Notes: A beautiful Fall day. The sun is sparkling off the water and a few leaves are starting to change color. The dew is so heavy on the grass that when I leave the site I can still see the track I left through the grass half an hour earlier when I was going to the site.


Sunday October 15, 2006 :: 7:30AM

Greystone Pond, Johnston - N. Providence

Data Collected by: Caroline Brown

Weather: clear, calm wind Water Temperature: 11.0 C (51.8 F)
Rainfall in the past 48 hours*: none Dissolved Oxygen: 8.5 mg/L
Air Temperature: 2.5 C (36.5 F)

Saturday October 14, 2006 :: 6:35AM

Donigian Park, Providence

Data Collected by: Bruce Hooke

Weather: clear, calm wind Water Temperature: 12.0 C (53.6 F)
Rainfall in the past 48 hours*: none Dissolved Oxygen: 9.9 mg/L
Air Temperature: 3.0 C (37.4 F)

Notes: There is something wonderful about watching the dawn arrive on a cold, Fall morning. Mist is sliding along the surface of the river and spilling over the dam and the water itself has a silvery feel to it, especially where it curls over the edge of the dam and changes from black to white. A Kingfisher just flew by dropping low over the river as he sped downstream.

The sky in the east has slowly been turning a brighter and brighter orange and then suddenly the leaves overhead are orange with sunlight and finally, as I am getting ready to head home, the light reaches the river and even the mist turns orange. The grass is glittering with soon to be melted frost.


Wednesday October 25, 2006 :: 8:00AM

Greystone Pond, Johnston - N. Providence

Data Collected by: Caroline Brown

Weather: clear, light wind Water Temperature: 10.0 C (50 F)
Rainfall in the past 48 hours*: none Dissolved Oxygen: 8.7 mg/L

Wednesday October 25, 2006 :: 6:45AM

Donigian Park, Providence

Data Collected by: Bruce Hooke

Weather: clear, light wind Water Temperature: 12.0 C (53.6 F)
Rainfall in the past 48 hours*: none Dissolved Oxygen: 11.0 mg/L
Air Temperature: 6.0 C (42.8 F)

Notes: When I reached the park, the cold, black waters of the river were sweeping under the Valley Street Bridge. Traveling along on the water's journey to the Bay were many fallen leaves. High in the western sky, the three stars of Orion's belt were just fading out. Winter is definitely on the way.

Today marks the end of another season of water quality monitoring on the Woonasquatucket River. Many thanks to Caroline Brown for her dedicated monitoring at Cricket Park, and to everyone at Watershed Watch for making this all possible!

Best wishes to all for a beautiful winter!


* 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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