State funding was cut, but environmental leaders in Scott County have found a way to continue the volunteer "snapshot sampling" of area streams that has been conducted twice a year since 2002.
The next "snapshot" event will be Tuesday, May 8, with volunteers meeting at 8 a.m. at the Davenport Public Works building, 1200 E. 46th St., for training and to get their assignments. They will then fan out across the county, sampling 48 sites for various factors including clarity or amount of dissolved oxygen. The day will wrap up at 11 a.m. with lunch.
Volunteers are asked to register by contacting Scott Boose, of Partners of Scott County Watersheds, at firstname.lastname@example.org or 563-391-1403.
Late last year, it appeared that the sampling activity that had become a community ritual, especially among high school students, would be ending.
The program had been initiated, financed and coordinated by the Iowa Department of Natural Resources, or DNR, as a way to increase public awareness statewide about water quality and to gather data that would reflect trends over time.
But because of budget constraints, the DNR announced that it could no longer offer the program.
Scott County residents and groups that had participated through the years didn't want to see the program end, so they met and developed a plan to keep it going.
Kathy Morris, director of the Waste Commission of Scott County, submitted a grant application that, with a local match, would pay for test kits, lab testing, data interpretation and the development of a website where data would be kept and could be accessed by anyone for research.
The grant request was denied, but meantime, the group that calls itself the Scott Count Snapshot Committee has borrowed test kits and will coordinate the sampling, retaining the data until such time as it can be interpreted and recorded on a website.
Morris already has submitted another grant request under a different program to finance the activity.
The snapshot group includes representatives from the cities of Davenport and Bettendorf, Nahant Marsh Education Center, the Scott County Soil and Water Conservation District, the Scott County Conservation Board, XStream Cleanup and the waste commission.