Today concludes the first week of FSI’s baseline assessment along the Rainbow River. For the past five days, FSI staff and local volunteers have been engaged in an extensive study of the middle and lower segments of the river with the goal of establishing a baseline of scientific information that will serve as a starting point for future health assessment of this diverse ecosystem, which connects to Rainbow Springs and the Floridan aquifer.

FSI Executive Director, Dr. Bob Knight (left), leads a team of volunteers conducting light measurements to help determine water clarity. 

During the week, staff and volunteers have conducted various sampling activities, including fish, bird, and vegetation surveys; flow, depth, and light measurements; and snail and human use counts. FSI is also collecting insects and water quality measurements, such as pH, turbidity, and dissolved oxygen, throughout the study period. These activities will resume next week with additional data collection and surveying.

FSI Environmental Scientist, Ron Clark (right), records water quality data with volunteer Dan Hilliard. 

During the busy holiday weekend, volunteers will conduct additional human use counts of the recreational activities that occur along the river. Examples of these activities include tubing, snorkeling, kayaking and canoeing. If you are planning a visit to the Rainbow River this weekend be sure to waive to our wonderful volunteers as you pass by!

FSI has already conducted the first phase of the baseline assessment along the lower Ichetucknee River. In October, staff and volunteers will begin a two-week study of the Wakulla River and will re-visit all three systems in Spring 2016. To learn more about FSI’s springs baseline assessment project and how you can become a volunteer, clickhere.


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