Tuckaseegee Watershed Observatory: A Collaborative Environmental Research Tool
Current environmental regulations and scientific inquiry rely on single point catch samples or in-situ measurements to certify compliance or acquire basic data. Such methods do not lend themselves well for dynamic environmental water quality events of short duration. In addition, such measurements do not allow for the separation of such events as turbidity changes, nutrient flow, and physical parameter changes. This paper describes the progress on a system to address these issues.
Recent advances in both sensor technologies and communication methods allow for the deployment of high station count sensing networks of both the wired and wireless types. A joint team of Western Carolina University (WCU) and the Watershed Authority of the Tuckaseegee River (WATR) is working to create a comprehensive network for water quality measurements in the Tuckaseegee River basin. Initially targeted toward turbidity measurements for mountainside development monitoring, the system has been expanded in scope to include microclimate monitoring of the surrounding watershed, and multiple parametric measurement. When completed, the system will include multiple water monitoring stations on the Tuckaseegee and its source streams as well as microclimate sensors in various areas of the watershed. The system has expanded beyond basic compliance monitoring to include scientific information gathering for hydraulics, ecosystem modeling, and to that end is including outreach to the community and schools in the area for interaction and educational involvement.
The technologies used include multiple network topologies of sensor elements, multiple communications formats, sensor pallets, and data logging systems. This paper describes the overall design of the system, and addresses the primary technical and community issues which have had to be addressed to implement the system.
KeywordsWireless Sensor Network Water Monitor Wireless Sensor Network System Total Power Demand Water Monitoring Station
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