The Choctawhatchee Basin Alliance (CBA) of Northwest Florida State College works with the University of Florida’s Florida LAKEWATCH program to conduct monthly water quality monitoring of more than 130 stations in throughout the watershed, including Choctawhatchee Bay, Choctawhatchee River, and Walton County’s coastal dune lakes. This collaboration allows us to establish baseline water quality data for our local water resources, which can then be used to help identify areas of poor water conditions, determine the causes of water degradation, and identify solutions to improve water quality throughout the basin. CBA’s data are uploaded to the Florida Department of Environmental Protection’s Watershed Information Network and the University of South Florida’s Florida Water Resource Monitoring Catalog, both of which are available to the public. The data that CBA collects is public knowledge and the data is available upon request. Currently, CBA is working towards developing an interactive map that will display data trends within the watershed. The data collected is used by local municipalities as well as state and federal agencies to manage and regulate our waters.
Our water quality monitoring program is conducted by a large group of dedicated citizen scientist volunteers. In the field, a surface- and bottom-level reading of the following parameters are recorded at each station: temperature, dissolved oxygen, pH, salinity, specific conductivity, oxygen saturation, and water clarity. In addition, two water samples are collected which are analyzed by the Florida LAKEWATCH program for nutrient concentration (total nitrogen and total phosphorus), algae content (chlorophyll). Water transparency and water depth is analyzed using a secchi disk.
The Choctawhatchee Basin Alliance goal is to maintain trained citizen volunteers on our 130+ sampling sites located within the Choctawhatchee Bay, Choctawhatchee River, all the coastal dune lakes in Walton County, and even in the Gulf of Mexico, just offshore in Okaloosa and Walton County. Click here to view a map of CBA’s current sampling stations. CBA staff conducts multiple new water quality monitoring volunteer trainings each year, maintaining over 30 water quality citizen scientists. If you are interested in participating in this program, please email Brandy, our Monitoring Coordinator, your contact information (firstname.lastname@example.org).