Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Week 3, June 18 2013, Panther Hollow Watershed Walk

Summer Session, Week 3
Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Today, we explored an urban watershed near the Carnegie Museum of Natural History.

Our guide for the watershed tour was Krissy Hopkins, a Pitt PhD student who studies green infrastructure, hydrologic function, and holistic accounting of green infrastructure costs and benefits. Before we departed for the watershed walk, she gave us a brief overview of her work at Pitt, as well as explaining how to take certain measurements, and why they are important.

Our equipment included water testing bottles, a meter stick a stop watch, and a Garmin GPSmap 62s, as well as trash bags and gloves in anticipation of picking up trash we would find along the way.

Weather conditions were rainy, which was actually a stroke of luck, as the rainwater-fed streams that empty into Panther Hollow Lake were flowing, and all streams had increased water flow. As we made our way off the paved roads and sidewalks of Oakland and into Panther Hollow valley, we experienced first-hand how trees mitigate the urban heat island effect; as we progressed further into the foliage, the cooler and less humid it seemed to get.

We took two water samples at the following locations:

  1. Phipps Run stream at GPS location N 40°26'16.1" W 079°56'45.6"
  2. Panther Hollow stream at GPS location N 40°26'11.6" W 079°56'43.4"
(Position formats for both sites are hddd°mm'ss.s" , Map Datum WGS 84, Map Spheroid WGS 84)

We were able to measure average flow rate by floating a piece of leaf down the stream and calculating the time it took the leaf to travel one meter. The meter stick was also used to determine stream depth at time of sampling.

Water sample testing will be done in a future Energy-Net session, as we did not have the materials available to us this day.

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