According to a release, state and local experts are teaching people how to investigate salt concentrations in freshwater through hands-on events. The most recent one was held Tuesday, Sept. 21 at the 1000 Islands Nature Preserve.
“We’re excited to have the opportunity to get people out on the water collecting a sample and then reading the sample and seeing what the results are. Today we’re sampling for chlorides in our waters,” says Kelly Reyer, Volunteer & Member Coordinator, Fox-Wolf Watershed Alliance.
Volunteers were able to learn about the impact chlorides have on local waterways. Some of these include wildlife, freshwater ecosystems, local infrastructure, and the freshwater drinking supply.
“Chloride runoffs from de-icing salts from our public roadways, as well as residential areas. So we want people to understand that what happens on the land impacts our waterways,” adds Reyer.
“Every one teaspoon of salt ends up polluting five gallons of freshwater. Just like you and I don’t want to drink salt water all day, we don’t want our freshwater organisms to now be in salty water,” explains Allison Madison, Sustainability and Development Coordinator, WI Salt Wise. “If you see salt down after the snow is gone in the winter, it means you’ve used too much.”
Water samples are important to gather and test for chlorides, so experts helped volunteers paddle on the Fox River to collect a few.
“Once people understand that impact and that connection between land and water, we’re hoping that they can make choices at their own properties to use less salt or no salt at all, if they are applying salt to apply the correct amount, and to reduce oversalting,” says Reyer.
At the end of the event, participants were able to go home with tools to support monitoring efforts.
Fox-Wolf officials say they will coordinate volunteers for chloride monitoring in local streams this coming fall and winter.