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Port Townsend, Washington Celebrates World Water Monitoring Day

Release Date: 10/18/2005
Contact Information: Michael Rylko
(206) 553-4014

October 18, 2005

U.S. EPA, Port Townsend Marine Science Center, teachers and students join forces to monitor the Puget Sound

Today in Port Townsend, Washington the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Washington Operations Director, Tom Eaton will be joining beach watchers, teachers and students to celebrate World Water Monitoring Day.

On October 18, citizens of the global community will join in World Water Monitoring Day (WWMD), a worldwide opportunity to positively impact the health of rivers, lakes, estuaries and other waterbodies. Through this world monitoring effort, volunteer monitoring groups, water quality agencies, students, and the general public are being encouraged to test four key indicators of local water quality: temperature, pH, dissolved oxygen, and turbidity.

The Discovery Lab Environmental Monitoring Program at Port Townsend Marine Science Center (PTMSC) allows teachers, students and citizens to work side-by-side with research scientists in real-world research projects. EPA recently recognized the Port Townsend Marine Science Center with a $10,000 grant to expand their citizen monitoring capacity of local marine waters.

"It is important to involve students in science and stewardship opportunities that prepare them for responsible thinking and decision making when they inherit the Puget Sound legacy," said Eaton. "Students who have the chance to work alongside research scientists engaged in the practice of science as a career emerge with their imaginations kindled and with a clear understanding of the value of scientific work."

The PTMSC's Foss Maritime Discovery Lab is designed and equipped to support many types of research and inquiry. There are two important collaboration opportunities that the lab is pursuing that have particular relevance to the health of the Puget Sound ecosystem. The first is studying harmful algal blooms, which are occurring with increasing frequency and severity in Puget Sound and Northwest Straits. The second is the dissolved oxygen problem in Hood Canal.

EPA funding will allow PTMSC to join the team for two projects: Olympic Region Harmful Algal Bloom and Hood Canal Dissolved Oxygen Program. For both of these programs the Discovery lab will serve as a regular monitoring station, providing specified data, collected and analyzed by students and teachers participating in PTMSC's education programs. PTMSC monitoring in Port Townsend Bay, Discovery Bay and Killisut Harbor will provide valuable data from three new areas to both programs.

Due to local citizen's involvement, marine water monitoring stations located in Hood Canal have increased from four stations in 1975 to eleven stations in 1998. Additional monitoring stations are located throughout the greater Puget Sound area.

"The importance of local citizen monitoring efforts really can't be over-stated, for example, our current understanding and concern for Hood Canal was the result of persistent volunteer monitoring efforts which were able to document the problem and convince local, state, and federal agencies to help develop a solution to protect these nearshore waters," said Anne Murphy, PTMSC Director.

For more information about World Water Monitoring Day you can go to the following website:

For more information about Port Townsend Marine Science Center you can go to the following website:

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