Water Testing Weeks 4 and 5

OK – I’m confused; but so glad I have Aaron Snell of Streamside Ecological Services to make sense of all this data I’ve gathered. I do understand that there are things beyond my control that can skew numbers, like some indecent raccoon pooping upstream from where I’m taking water samples……

Anyway – here are the final two weeks of water sampling data as measured in CFUs (Colony Forming Units/100 ml):

……………………………………………….Sept 9th                         Sept 15th

4th St North*                                                          276                                 548

M-179                                                                      348                                 178

Timber Creek north (Cuddy)                             340                                 192

Timber Creek south (Boot Lk)                           901                                  472

Tawsley    (along 1st St)                                        166                                  178

1st St  (upstream)                                                   777                                  509

Patterson                                                                 752                                  1507

*The 4th St location isn’t sampled in 3 separate locations, nor part of the “official database” – it’s just to help verify the numbers at M-179

Ignoring the 4th St sample – everything is down nicely EXCEPT Patterson and I sure don’t  know why that sample jumped upward??  So confused.  I don’t think a wayward incontinent raccoon would be able to taint the volume of water at three test points ???  Very confusing.   And I can’t even explain the lovely overall drop in E-coli.  The water temperature was much lower than the previous week – but I’ve read that E-coli can survive VERY cold temps.     My brain wants to explode.

Did I mention that I was confused?   🙂





Water Testing Weeks 2 and 3 (Updated)

We had received over 2″ of rain a day-and-a-half before I sampled on Aug 27th; so it came as no surprise that the numbers were somewhat lowered, simply by dilution:  (I’m posting the average of 3 samples)

M-179 (Cuddy):  558.13 CFUs (colony forming units)

Timber Creek N (Cuddy):  583.8

Timber Creek S (Boot lake):  718.3

Tawsley (along 1st):  372.73

1st St upstream: 1179.23

Patterson:  777.2

Knowing these samples were taken after a deluge, implies to me that this year, we’re not getting a runoff problem because the fields within the watershed were not fertilized with manure this year.  Last year, we got reading above 2400 CFUs at several locations after a heavy rainfall.


Tuesday Sept 2, 2014

A few pictures from today’s mosquito-infested water sampling – I’ll add the results when I get them tomorrow.

Sept2.TCN2This is a game called “Find The Gage”.  Somewhere over that lovely field of Goldenrod (yeah, I’m allergic, but it’s better than the masses of Poison Ivy at 1st St), there’s the Cuddy Drain…….


Sept2.TCN1There it is!  See?  This is more fun than “Where’s Waldo”….  Once I find it, I record the depth of the water; the temp of the water (always remarkably cold!) and take 3 samples of water: one from the left “third”, one from the center, and one from the right “third”.


Sept2.m179Here’s another, hidden about 150′ off the road, back in the puckerbrush.  I finally learned to bring along an old snow ski pole to use as a hiking stick, clambering out of the creek isn’t easy in hip boots.


Sept2.First rerouteNow this is just exciting!!!:  the Allegan Drain folks have been re-routing the Tawsley Drain along 1st St!  My car is facing south: the old drain line is still operating, but you can see the new one waiting to be opened at its southern end.  This will allow for a wider bridge over 1st St – and more importantly – it keeps part of the Tawsley AWAY from the gravel road bed and shoulders, which is where a  LOT of erosion came from last Spring after heavy rains.  If you happen to meet Denise Medemar, Allegan Drain Commissioner – thank her profusely!!  (Of course, all this upcoming construction means I have to HIKE up the Cuddy  to get to the gage, which has been placed far from harm’s way….)


Sept2.4thCan you see it?  Now we play “Where’s Water?” – not “Where’s Waldo?”  By this time of year, the water flow is pretty scant at 4th St north of M-179….LOL!  This little trickle is about 6″ wide and 5″ deep.  I took just one sample from this pretty little source of the Cuddy.  Yes, I said “pretty” – in spite of the numbers indicating folks should NOT be splashing around in it – the Cuddy and its companion drains are still lovely to look at!


And here are the results – keep in mind the higher numbers are probably reflecting the lower water levels (not as much dilution as last week):

4th St north of M-179:  649 CFUs  (this was the random sample)

M-179:  1455*

Timber Creek north (Cuddy):  812

Timber Creek south (Boot ):  977.3

Tawsley (along 1st St):  608.3

1st St upstream:  1468.66

Patterson:  1338

*This is a large increase for such a small stream.   Time to start poking around….