Old Woman Creek State Nature Preserve and National Estuarine Research Reserve is one of the few remaining relatively natural freshwater estuaries in the Great Lakes region. On the south-central shore of Lake Erie, Old Woman Creek and lake water mix to form a unique ecosystem.
The 571-acre preserve provides critical habitat for native species and migrating birds and offers an essential opportunity to research ecological benefits provided by these fragile estuarine systems.
To assist in the understanding and preservation of the estuary, an automated water monitoring system was installed at Old Woman Creek Nature Preserve. The system is part of a long-term data set collected at National Estuarine Research Reserves around the country. Visit http://www.oldwomancreek.org for additional information.
Two water quality monitoring stations were deployed: one where Old Woman Creek enters the preserve and another near the mouth of the estuary. At both stations, NexSens Technology data loggers with radio telemetry and YSI 6600 multi-parameter sondes with temperature, conductivity, salinity, dissolved oxygen, pH, depth, and turbidity sensors were installed.
At each site, water quality and hydrology data is collected with NexSens 4100-iSIC data loggers, which then transmit the information via license free, spread spectrum radios to a base station located at the Old Woman Creek visitor center. From the base station computer, iChart software uploads data to an online datacenter at WQData.com. This data is used in environmental education as well as restoration and resource management decisions.