Choctawhatchee Basin Alliance (CBA) of Northwest Florida State College has been monitoring local waterways since our inception in 1996. We partner with the UF Florida LAKEWATCH program to conduct monthly water quality monitoring of more than 130 stations throughout the watershed, including Choctawhatchee Bay, Choctawhatchee River, and Walton County coastal dune lakes. A large group of dedicated citizen scientist volunteers assist CBA staff in our water quality monitoring program.
The collaboration allows us to establish baseline water quality data for our local water resources, which helps identify areas of poor water conditions, determine the causes of water degradation, and identify solutions to improve water quality throughout the basin. CBA uploads data to the Florida Department of Environmental Protection Watershed Information Network, the University of South Florida Florida Water Resource Monitoring Catalog, and Environmental Protection Agency’s water quality portal - all available to the public. The data CBA collects is public knowledge and is available upon request. Local municipalities and state and federal agencies use our data to manage and regulate our waters.
The goal of CBA is to maintain trained citizen scientist volunteers of all ages and backgrounds on our 130+ sampling stations, who act as our eyes on the water and become meaningful water stewards in our community. Our staff conducts one-on-one water quality monitoring volunteer training, ensuring quality sampling and data collection from over 30 water quality citizen scientists annually.
At each station, we record surface- and bottom-level readings of the following parameters: temperature, dissolved oxygen, pH, salinity, specific conductivity, oxygen saturation, and water clarity. In addition, we collect two water samples which the Florida LAKEWATCH program analyzes for nutrient concentration (total nitrogen and total phosphorus) and algae content (chlorophyll). Water clarity and depth are analyzed using a Secchi disk.