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Water Quality Data for 2009

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

  1. Greystone Pond, Johnston - N. Providence
  2. Donigian Park, Providence
  3. Waterplace 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
Georgiaville Pond 3.1 - <1 - - 2
Greystone Pond 18 1119.9 >2419.6 380.8 113.8 >237
Donigian Park 10 488.4 >4839.2 250.8 108.8 >185
Waterplace Park 42 2092.4 >9678.4 440 >7017 >916

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 5/2 5/16 5/30 6/13 6/27 7/11 7/18 8/1 8/15 8/29 9/12 9/26 10/10 10/17
Greystone Pond 8.2 7.8 6.9 6.9 6.2 6.9 5.6 6.1 5.6 7.1 8.4 8.1 6.8 8.1
Donigian Park 9.3 9.2 8.6 8.4 7.9 8.2 7.0 7.2 7.6 8.0 8.0 8.7 8.9 10.9
Waterplace Park 8.7 7.4 7.1 7.3 7.0 7.2 4.3 - 4.5 7.4 2.9 7.1 7.6 9.8

Dissolved Oxygen (% Saturation):

Site 5/2 5/16 5/30 6/13 6/27 7/11 7/18 8/1 8/15 8/29 9/12 9/26 10/10 10/17
Greystone Pond 84 80 72 73 69 75 65 72 65 81 90 82 67 73
Donigian Park 93 89 89 89 88 90 82 84 88 89 85 88 89 93
Waterplace Park 86 77 75 77 77 79 53 - 52 81 33 73 74 84

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:

Thursday April 30, 2009 :: 6:05AM

Greystone Pond, Johnston - N. Providence

Data Collected by: Douglas Stephens

Weather: light overcast, calm wind Water Temperature: 16.5 C (61.7 F)
Rainfall in the past 48 hours*: none Dissolved Oxygen: 8.2 mg/L

Thursday April 30, 2009 :: 7:25AM

Donigian Park, Providence

Data Collected by: Bruce Hooke

Weather: clear, calm wind Water Temperature: 15.3 C (59.5 F)
Rainfall in the past 48 hours*: none Dissolved Oxygen: 9.3 mg/L
Air Temperature: 9.5 C (49.1 F)

Notes: It's a beautiful sunny spring morning. After some days of unusually warm weather it is "seasonally cool" this morning and the sun feels good on my back. A great blue heron just flew by, heading up the river. A crow flew up from the gravel bar below the dam when I was walking up to the site. The trees are in various stages of leafing out. Some have big leaves and some have no leaves at all. Most have small leaves that will be big very soon!

Thursday April 30, 2009 :: 6:00AM

Waterplace Park, Providence

Data Collected by: Bruce Hooke

Weather: clear, calm wind Water Temperature: 15.0 C (59 F)
Rainfall in the past 48 hours*: none Dissolved Oxygen: 8.7 mg/L
Air Temperature: 5.0 C (41 F) Salinity: 0.7 ppt
Tide: low  

Notes: The sun is just coming up over Waterplace Park and downtown Providence, welcoming the start of another season of water quality monitoring on the Woonasquatucket. The tide was so low when I got to the site that some of the river bottom was exposed out in the middle of Waterplace Park but by 6:12am, the official time of low tide, it was already covered up.


Saturday May 16, 2009 :: 6:10AM

Greystone Pond, Johnston - N. Providence

Data Collected by: Douglas Stephens

Weather: light overcast, calm wind Water Temperature: 16.5 C (61.7 F)
Rainfall in the past 48 hours*: 7mm (0.28") Dissolved Oxygen: 7.8 mg/L

Tuesday May 19, 2009 :: 7:33AM

Donigian Park, Providence

Data Collected by: Bruce Hooke

Weather: clear, calm wind Water Temperature: 13.7 C (56.7 F)
Rainfall in the past 48 hours*: 2mm (0.08") Dissolved Oxygen: 9.2 mg/L
Air Temperature: 9.2 C (48.6 F)

Notes: The sun is shining brightly this morning but the air is cool. When I first got to the site I thought I could see just a hint of my breath, maybe for the last time until fall. The morning chorus of birds should be winding down by this time but there are still lots of bird calls to be heard coming from all sides. I saw a female mallard and two ducklings working along the side of the river below the dam. The ducklings are tiny walking and swimming balls of fluff.

Saturday May 16, 2009 :: 6:30AM

Waterplace Park, Providence

Data Collected by: Pauline Bellavance

Weather: clear, calm wind Water Temperature: 17.0 C (62.6 F)
Rainfall in the past 48 hours*: 7mm (0.28") Dissolved Oxygen: 7.4 mg/L
Tide: low Salinity: 0.8 ppt

Saturday May 30, 2009 :: 6:40AM

Greystone Pond, Johnston - N. Providence

Data Collected by: Douglas Stephens

Weather: light overcast, calm wind Water Temperature: 17.5 C (63.5 F)
Rainfall in the past 48 hours*: 3mm (0.12") Dissolved Oxygen: 6.9 mg/L

Monday June 1, 2009 :: 6:00AM

Donigian Park, Providence

Data Collected by: Bruce Hooke

Weather: clear, light wind Water Temperature: 16.9 C (62.4 F)
Rainfall in the past 48 hours*: 1mm (0.04") Dissolved Oxygen: 8.6 mg/L
Air Temperature: 7.5 C (45.5 F)

Notes: It is the first of June and summer has unofficially begun but the air temperature this morning is hardly summer-like! There is a distinct "nip" t the air. However, the sun is rising much further to the south than it will come fall, a sign that the summer solstice, and the official start of summer, is less than three weeks away. The trees have almost all fully leafed out. The only exception is the big sycamore, which is always slow to fully leaf out.

Sunday May 31, 2009 :: 7:35AM

Waterplace Park, Providence

Data Collected by: Pauline Bellavance

Weather: clear, calm wind Water Temperature: 18.0 C (64.4 F)
Rainfall in the past 48 hours*: 6mm (0.24") Dissolved Oxygen: 7.1 mg/L
Tide: low Salinity: 3.0 ppt

Saturday June 13, 2009 :: 6:10AM

Greystone Pond, Johnston - N. Providence

Data Collected by: Douglas Stephens

Weather: heavy overcast, calm wind Water Temperature: 18.2 C (64.8 F)
Rainfall in the past 48 hours*: 30mm (1.18") Dissolved Oxygen: 6.9 mg/L

Saturday June 13, 2009 :: 6:15AM

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*: 30mm (1.18") Dissolved Oxygen: 8.4 mg/L
Air Temperature: 17.0 C (62.6 F)

Notes: It was mostly cloudy when I got to the site this morning but big breaks in the clouds are starting to appear. The river is looking pretty murky, which is not surprising after all the rain we got yesterday. The ducklings are already looking much bigger than they did two weeks ago.

Saturday June 13, 2009 :: 7:35AM

Waterplace Park, Providence

Data Collected by: Pauline Bellavance

Weather: heavy overcast, calm wind Water Temperature: 18.0 C (64.4 F)
Rainfall in the past 48 hours*: 30mm (1.18") Dissolved Oxygen: 7.3 mg/L
Tide: low Salinity: 2.4 ppt

Sunday June 28, 2009 :: 6:20AM

Greystone Pond, Johnston - N. Providence

Data Collected by: Douglas Stephens

Weather: heavy overcast, light wind Water Temperature: 20.3 C (68.5 F)
Rainfall in the past 48 hours*: trace Dissolved Oxygen: 6.2 mg/L

Sunday June 28, 2009 :: 8:00AM

Donigian Park, Providence

Data Collected by: Bruce Hooke

Weather: heavy overcast, light wind Water Temperature: 20.8 C (69.4 F)
Rainfall in the past 48 hours*: trace Dissolved Oxygen: 7.9 mg/L
Air Temperature: 17.6 C (63.7 F)

Notes: The flat, low clouds overhead show only the slightest variation in shades of gray. The wind varies from nothing to sharp, cool gusts that send mulberries from the mulberry tree into the river, where they float down over dam; or onto the ground, where the birds seem to be enjoying them.

Sunday June 28, 2009 :: 7:45AM

Waterplace Park, Providence

Data Collected by: Pauline Bellavance

Weather: heavy overcast, light wind Water Temperature: 20.0 C (68 F)
Rainfall in the past 48 hours*: trace Dissolved Oxygen: 7.0 mg/L
Tide: low Salinity: 2.3 ppt

Saturday July 11, 2009 :: 6:45AM

Greystone Pond, Johnston - N. Providence

Data Collected by: Douglas Stephens

Weather: clear, calm wind Water Temperature: 19.7 C (67.5 F)
Rainfall in the past 48 hours*: none Dissolved Oxygen: 6.9 mg/L

Saturday July 11, 2009 :: 7:00AM

Donigian Park, Providence

Data Collected by: Bruce Hooke

Weather: clear, calm wind Water Temperature: 19.9 C (67.8 F)
Rainfall in the past 48 hours*: none Dissolved Oxygen: 8.2 mg/L
Air Temperature: 15.8 C (60.4 F)

Notes: It's almost surprising to wake up to sunshine and clear blue skies after all the gray, damp mornings we've been having! The cool, damp weather has been good for river and dissolved oxygen levels but some sun is nice for enjoying the river!

An all white pigeon flew up from the path to the site this morning. It brought to mind a white dove.

I saw a number of 1 to 1-1/2" long fish in the shallow water along the edge of the river.

Saturday July 11, 2009 :: 7:45AM

Waterplace Park, Providence

Data Collected by: Pauline Bellavance

Weather: clear, calm wind Water Temperature: 20.0 C (68 F)
Rainfall in the past 48 hours*: none Dissolved Oxygen: 7.2 mg/L
Tide: low Salinity: 2.4 ppt

Saturday July 18, 2009 :: 6:15AM

Greystone Pond, Johnston - N. Providence

Data Collected by: Douglas Stephens

Weather: heavy overcast, calm wind Water Temperature: 22.6 C (72.7 F)
Rainfall in the past 48 hours*: 5mm (0.2") Dissolved Oxygen: 5.6 mg/L

Saturday July 18, 2009 :: 5:45AM

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*: 5mm (0.2") Dissolved Oxygen: 7.0 mg/L
Air Temperature: 22.5 C (72.5 F)

Notes: It appears to have just stopped raining, not long before I got up. Everything looks very freshly rain washed. The river is very turbid (muddy) this morning but there are occasional bright spots in the sky off to the east, suggesting that the sun is trying to break through. However, for the most part the clouds are dense and gray overhead.

Saturday July 18, 2009 :: 7:15AM

Waterplace Park, Providence

Data Collected by: Pauline Bellavance

Weather: clear, calm wind Water Temperature: 26.0 C (78.8 F)
Rainfall in the past 48 hours*: 5mm (0.2") Dissolved Oxygen: 4.3 mg/L
Tide: ebb Salinity: 2.3 ppt

Sunday August 2, 2009 :: 6:25AM

Greystone Pond, Johnston - N. Providence

Data Collected by: Douglas Stephens

Weather: heavy overcast, calm wind Water Temperature: 23.5 C (74.3 F)
Rainfall in the past 48 hours*: 20mm (0.79") Dissolved Oxygen: 6.1 mg/L

Monday August 3, 2009 :: 8:00AM

Donigian Park, Providence

Data Collected by: Bruce Hooke

Weather: clear, light wind Water Temperature: 23.0 C (73.4 F)
Rainfall in the past 48 hours*: trace Dissolved Oxygen: 7.2 mg/L
Air Temperature: 23.0 C (73.4 F)

Notes: A bright sunny morning...still slightly cool in the shade but it seems likely to be hot later, as it should be since it is the middle of the summer.

There is a large snag of branches, a long log and various other debris hung up on the top of the dam. I expect it was carried down to here by the last round of high water.


Thursday August 13, 2009 :: 6:10AM

Greystone Pond, Johnston - N. Providence

Data Collected by: Douglas Stephens

Weather: heavy overcast, gentle wind Water Temperature: 22.5 C (72.5 F)
Rainfall in the past 48 hours*: 1mm (0.04") Dissolved Oxygen: 5.6 mg/L

Thursday August 13, 2009 :: 6:40AM

Donigian Park, Providence

Data Collected by: Bruce Hooke

Weather: heavy overcast, light wind Water Temperature: 22.5 C (72.5 F)
Rainfall in the past 48 hours*: 1mm (0.04") Dissolved Oxygen: 7.6 mg/L
Air Temperature: 19.9 C (67.8 F)

Notes: After a couple of hot days earlier this week it is cool and damp this morning and there is a light mist -- almost rain -- falling. But the river is clear and the leaves on the trees look bright green in the damp morning air.

Saturday August 15, 2009 :: 7:15AM

Waterplace Park, Providence

Data Collected by: Pauline Bellavance

Weather: clear, calm wind Water Temperature: 23.0 C (73.4 F)
Rainfall in the past 48 hours*: 2mm (0.08") Dissolved Oxygen: 4.5 mg/L
Tide: ebb

Friday August 28, 2009 :: 6:30AM

Greystone Pond, Johnston - N. Providence

Data Collected by: Douglas Stephens

Weather: light overcast, calm wind Water Temperature: 21.7 C (71.1 F)
Rainfall in the past 48 hours*: none Dissolved Oxygen: 7.1 mg/L

Saturday August 29, 2009 :: 7:55AM

Donigian Park, Providence

Data Collected by: Bruce Hooke

Weather: heavy overcast, calm wind Water Temperature: 20.5 C (68.9 F)
Rainfall in the past 48 hours*: 21mm (0.83") Dissolved Oxygen: 8.0 mg/L
Air Temperature: 16.7 C (62.1 F)

Notes: It's not raining especially hard but it has the feel of rain that could go on for hours, as it is likely to do since the it comes from tropical storm Danny, which is passing by offshore. The river is not yet that high but it is brown and murky.

When I was wading out to collect my samples a great blue heron took off from a tree overhanging the river. For some reason, as it flew away this heron looked even more prehistoric than they usually do.

Sunday August 30, 2009 :: 8:00AM

Waterplace Park, Providence

Data Collected by: Pauline Bellavance

Weather: heavy overcast, calm wind Water Temperature: 20.0 C (68 F)
Rainfall in the past 48 hours*: 44mm (1.73") Dissolved Oxygen: 7.4 mg/L
Tide: ebb Salinity: 2.1 ppt

Thursday September 10, 2009 :: 6:30AM

Greystone Pond, Johnston - N. Providence

Data Collected by: Douglas Stephens

Weather: light overcast, calm wind Water Temperature: 18.7 C (65.7 F)
Rainfall in the past 48 hours*: none Dissolved Oxygen: 8.4 mg/L

Thursday September 10, 2009 :: 5:50AM

Donigian Park, Providence

Data Collected by: Bruce Hooke

Weather: clear, calm wind Water Temperature: 18.3 C (64.9 F)
Rainfall in the past 48 hours*: none Dissolved Oxygen: 8.0 mg/L
Air Temperature: 12.1 C (53.8 F)

Notes: The sky is quickly getting lighter and the few clouds along the eastern horizon are peach colored, but one "morning star" (actually a planet) is still showing the eastern sky.

The river is a little lower and slower than earlier in the summer since we've (finally) had a run of dry weather.

Thursday September 10, 2009 :: 7:10AM

Waterplace Park, Providence

Data Collected by: Bruce Hooke

Weather: clear, light wind Water Temperature: 21.5 C (70.7 F)
Rainfall in the past 48 hours*: none Dissolved Oxygen: 2.9 mg/L
Air Temperature: 13.0 C (55.4 F) Salinity: 30.3 ppt
Tide: flood  

Notes: Thin clouds are starting to spread across the sky and they look likely to thicken. The tide is coming in but the water right at the surface is moving down river. The water a few inches below the surface is much warmer than the water right at the surface. Most likely what is happening is that the fresh water flowing down the river, being lighter than the salt water, is flowing out over the surface of the salt water that is coming up river with the incoming tide. The samples all came from the deeper layer of water, and the salinity tests confirm that it is quite salty water. (However, it is also possible that the salinity data are incorrect since I don't do the salinity tests that often since this is not my regular site, so it is possible I made a mistake.)


Saturday September 26, 2009 :: 6:40AM

Greystone Pond, Johnston - N. Providence

Data Collected by: Douglas Stephens

Weather: light overcast, calm wind Water Temperature: 16.2 C (61.2 F)
Rainfall in the past 48 hours*: none Dissolved Oxygen: 8.1 mg/L

Saturday September 26, 2009 :: 6:15AM

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*: none Dissolved Oxygen: 8.7 mg/L
Air Temperature: 6.3 C (43.3 F)

Notes: The river water looks black in the cold early morning light. Thin strands of mist are sliding across the surface of the water and rising up in clouds below the dam. I saw one thin strand of mist go snaking up into the trees, lit by a shaft of sunlight.

The cawing of a pack of crows that just showed on the scene is providing a more raucous welcome to the morning.

Saturday September 26, 2009 :: 7:30AM

Waterplace Park, Providence

Data Collected by: Bruce Hooke

Weather: clear, calm wind Water Temperature: 16.9 C (62.4 F)
Rainfall in the past 48 hours*: none Dissolved Oxygen: 7.1 mg/L
Air Temperature: 8.3 C (46.9 F) Salinity: 9.8 ppt
Tide: ebb  

Notes: The sun is coming over the city on a beautiful fall morning. I can see the tide flowing out past the steps into the water, but it is getting close to low tide and the flow seems to be slowing down, but it is somewhat variable, at one point almost stopped and then moving again 10 minutes later.


Friday October 9, 2009 :: 6:35AM

Greystone Pond, Johnston - N. Providence

Data Collected by: Douglas Stephens

Weather: light overcast, calm wind Water Temperature: 14.9 C (58.8 F)
Rainfall in the past 48 hours*: 13mm (0.51") Dissolved Oxygen: 6.8 mg/L

Saturday October 10, 2009 :: 7:00AM

Donigian Park, Providence

Data Collected by: Bruce Hooke

Weather: light overcast, calm wind Water Temperature: 15.6 C (60.1 F)
Rainfall in the past 48 hours*: 4mm (0.16") Dissolved Oxygen: 8.9 mg/L
Air Temperature: 16.9 C (62.4 F)

Notes: A damp, gray morning, but for all the grayness it feels surprisingly bright. It is unusually warm for mid-October which makes the river feel colder! We got a little rain overnight but the river water still looks pretty clear. The sky is very gray but driving to the site it looked like the clouds were breaking up in the distance and at sunrise it also looked like the sun managed to sneak under the clouds for a little while, so the cloud cover may be more local. Sure enough, patches of blue sky started to appear before I finished running my tests at the site!

Monday October 12, 2009 :: 8:15AM

Waterplace Park, Providence

Data Collected by: Pauline Bellavance

Weather: clear, light wind Water Temperature: 14.0 C (57.2 F)
Rainfall in the past 48 hours*: none Dissolved Oxygen: 7.6 mg/L
Tide: low Salinity: 5.2 ppt

Saturday October 17, 2009 :: 6:15AM

Greystone Pond, Johnston - N. Providence

Data Collected by: Douglas Stephens

Weather: light overcast, calm wind Water Temperature: 11.0 C (51.8 F)
Rainfall in the past 48 hours*: 11mm (0.43") Dissolved Oxygen: 8.1 mg/L

Saturday October 17, 2009 :: 6:10AM

Donigian Park, Providence

Data Collected by: Bruce Hooke

Weather: clear, calm wind Water Temperature: 8.4 C (47.1 F)
Rainfall in the past 48 hours*: 11mm (0.43") Dissolved Oxygen: 10.9 mg/L
Air Temperature: 1.9 C (35.4 F)

Notes: Quite contrary to the forecast, which called for cloudy skies this morning, there are stars everywhere when I arrive at the site. While I am there the sky fades from deep black to rich blue and turns a pale gold on the eastern horizon. The river is cold this morning but the air is even colder, at just a couple of degrees above freezing!

Saturday October 17, 2009 :: 7:35AM

Waterplace Park, Providence

Data Collected by: Bruce Hooke

Weather: light overcast, light wind Water Temperature: 8.7 C (47.7 F)
Rainfall in the past 48 hours*: 11mm (0.43") Dissolved Oxygen: 9.8 mg/L
Air Temperature: 2.0 C (35.6 F) Salinity: 2.0 ppt
Tide: high  

Notes: In the hour or so since I was gathering data at Donigian Park the sky has filled with clouds but the sun is still finding some holes to peak through. A cold wind has also come up. The tide is so high that it is spilling over onto the walkways around Waterplace Park.

Another monitoring season has come to an end on the Woonasquatucket. Many thanks to our volunteers and to Watershed Watch!! Have a good 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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