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Types of Data Collected

There are different types of data that are currently and historically collected. The types of data currently collected by each agency and a description of where that data is being collected can be found in the “Protocol Survey Matrix” found in Appendix D.

Water quality data can be collected using a number of different methods. These include active, continuous sampling measures using a sonde inserted in the water column that records data at specified time intervals (usually every 15 minutes to hourly). Sonde data typically includes dissolved oxygen (DO), temperature, conductivity, and pH. These data can be downloaded directly from the sonde itself either continuously or intervals.

Field data collected intermittently from a water body is generally via a “grab sample.” Grab samples describe samples where someone physically fills a sample bottle with water under specified protocols that direct where, when, and how the sample is collected. Grab samples are placed in a cooler or other collection container for transmittal to the laboratory, as set forth by the organization’s specific standard operating procedures for that type of data collection. These samples are then tested for specific physical and chemical parameters (nutrients, metals, etc.) as outlined in the SAP. Additionally, grab samples collected can be immediately tested for pH, conductivity, turbidity, temperature, and dissolved oxygen, using an appropriately calibrated instrument for such measurement.

The frequency at which water quality samples are collected depends upon the intent of the sampling. In-stream data sondes record data at regular intervals, whereas water quality sample collection is made perhaps monthly or bi-annually. Discharge permits may require periodic sampling. For certain UNR or DRI research projects, data may be collected twice a year, at which time a full suite of data is collected (water quality, biologic, fish, river reach characteristics).

Some sampling is storm-event driven. To capture impacts of urban runoff, samples may be collected from a stormwater runoff event. These samples may be grab samples, or a composite based on flow changes over time. In the Truckee Meadows, the TMWC is permitted to sample runoff in one creek per year, from one storm in the dry season, and one storm in the wet season, as dictated by weather patterns and requirements of the SAP. A common stormwater event sample is a combination of first-flush runoff collection in a separate container triggered by the runoff event, followed by flow-weighted composites.