Protecting water quality flows through partnership
Andi Fitzgibbon, a water quality biologist with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Pittsburgh District, works alongside Jamie Detweiler, an aquatic biologist with he Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection, to collect water and biological samples to test water quality in a creek downstream from the Loyalhanna Dam in Saltsburg, Pennsylvania, April 10, 2024. The Pittsburgh District manages 16 dams for reservoirs designed to reduce floods and to provide water flow to navigation. It also operates 23 locks and dams on the three major navigable rivers surrounding Pittsburgh: the Allegheny, Ohio and Monongahela rivers. The Water Quality team is an essential part of the district’s mission. The team travels weekly across the district’s 26,000-square-mile span to collect samples to assess “bio-indicators” that represent ecological quality. The water quality team keeps a rigorous field schedule from the end of March until mid-November with stream macroinvertebrate collections and buoy deployments in the spring coupled with visiting every reservoir once per season to complete an annual water quality survey while visiting at least one reservoir each month from April through November. Their work entails surveying each reservoir’s inflows, the reservoir itself and the downstream river flowing out of the reservoir. The team also surveys every navigable river within the district. The collected data is used to make reservoir-management decisions, such as how much water to release to improve downstream water quality and to keep the waterways clean. The Pittsburgh District often partners with agencies at the federal, state and local levels for either sampling or other environmental concerns to fulfill missions of mutual interests. (U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Pittsburgh District photo by Michel Sauret)

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Photo by: Michel Sauret |  VIRIN: 240410-A-TI382-1036.JPG