Saturday, January 23, 2010
Blue Thumb -What is it?
BLUE THUMB: http://www.okcc.state.ok.us/ED/ED_bluethumb.htm
Blue Thumb, as the education arm of OCC’s Water Quality Division,works to connect Oklahoma’s citizens with the natural world.
Blue Thumb Volunteering: Stream and wetland monitoring,
Groundwater screening and Providing nonpoint source pollution prevention educational presentations. Across the state, there are over 90 streams that are currently being monitored by Blue Thumb volunteers. Volunteers come in all ages and from all walks of life.
Blue Thumb: Healthy Streams. Healthy implies life!
Healthy Streams= Chemical water quality + Physical Habitat Quality + Biotic Quality
CHEMICAL MONITORING: MEASURES POTENTIAL STREAM HEALTH IF PHYSICAL HABITAT IS ADEQUATE Can be expensive, time consuming for NPS pollutants,necessary for problem and source identifications. IT DOES NOT TELL YOU IF THE STREAM IS HEALTHY
BIOLOGICAL MONITORING: MEASURES HEALTHY STREAMS. Less expensive, TELLS IS THE STREAM IS HEALTHY, but does not identify the cause and source of the problem.
PHYSICAL (HABITAT) MONITORING: MEASURES POTENTIAL STREAM HEALTH
Cheap, TELLS HOW MUCH OF BIOLOGICAL IMPAIRMENT IS DUE TO WATER QUALITY, without having to actually perform and pay for the tests (remainder is due to lack of habitat). DOESN’T TELL IF STREAM IS HEALTHY
Blue Thumb Volunteers: Middle School age and up – Two day training required. Staff supports volunteers after training. Site Coordinator gets a $650 test tool kit.
Gather information on stream ecology and chemical monitoring. Participate in data collection and water pollution education
Water Chemistry: A glimpse of the water ‘s chemical properties at an instant in time: Dissolved oxygen, chloride, ammonia nitrate, water clarity, temperature, orthophosphate, Nitrate/Nitrite, pH. Volunteers are issued a test kit to complete their monitoring data each month.
Insects: Winter and Summer Collections: Benthic macroinvertebrates: worms, snails, etc. Tolerance to pollutants an habitat changes
Fish: First summer field session after monitoring begins. All day event! Sienes are used to capture fish. Fish tell the same story as the insects. A complete habitat assessment is also completed. At 20 meter intervals, How deep is the water? Is erosion a problem? Does emerging vegetation offer a nursery area for baby fish?
Physical Habitat: Are there rocks? Is the stream shaded? Is the substrate rough or smooth? How is the stream flow?
A Blue Thumb volunteer understands our streams. In addition to stream work, Blue Thumb volunteers do educational work.
What does a Blue Thumb Volunteer do as a stream monitor? Participates in chemical monitoring MONTHLY 1.5-2.5 HOURS
Helps collect aquatic insects TWICE A YEAR 2 HOURS
Prepares aquatic insect samples for identification TWICE A YEAR 3 HOURS
Helps collect fish habitat assessment (each fifth year) 6 HOURS
Attends quality assurance sessions quaterly 2 HOURS
What does a Blue Thumb Volunteer do as an advocacy educator?þ Provides pollution prevention demonstrations at schools Volunteer records hours with honor system. Hours helps organization get funding!
Helps with stream clean-ups
Staffs educational exhibits
Marks curbs wit the “No Dumping – Keep Our Water Clean” message
How is the data collected by Blue Tumb volunteers used? A DATA SHEET IS PROVIDED!
« Chemical data is screening data, unusual results are reported to the DEQ (Department of Environmental Quality).
« Fish and Macroinvertebrate information is used by the state to assess conditions of streams. They tell the story of the stream!
« Blue Tumb volunteers are expected to communicate with the people who live around the stream and let them know how their every day actions impact the stream. Blue Tumb volunteers help people take care of our water resources by realizing how their choices limit or enhance life in our streams.
« A stream is a reflection of its watershed. A Blue Thumb good grade
Shade to help keep water cool
Emergent vegetation to offer habitat
Trees, grasses and shrubs lining the stream
Rocks and woody debris to serve as habitat
Area natives willing to jump right in
What can anyone do to keep our streams healthy and get a good grade? TAKE TIME TO BE OUTDOORS!
Use households and chemicals cautiously. Read labels, follow instructions, dispose properly. You break a federal law if you do not follow instructions.
Have soil tested. You will know your fertilizer needs. Do not apply chemicals when rain is predicted.
Pick-up pet waste.
Keep farming and construction from sensitive stream banks.
Practice no-till farming to reduce soil erosion and conserve precious soil moisture.
Keep vehicles and heavy equipment in good repair to eliminate leaks.
Plant native plants.
Collect rain water to water plants. Check state mandates on rain water collection!
Leave wild areas alone.
If fishable, is swimable
OUT OF THE HOUSE AND INTO A CREEK!
PEOPLE WHO LEARN TO LOVE NATURE AS CHILDREN
GROW INTO ADULTS THAT VALUE NATURE,
AND DO WHAT THEY CAN TO KEEP STREAMS AND RIVERS HEALTHY.
NO MATTER WHAT YOU DO, YOU HAVE AN IMPACT ON THE ENVIRONMENT, MAKE IT BE MINIMAL!
1. Blue Thumb is an educational program, not a regulatory program.
2. Blue Thumb has regularly scheduled trainings, but they do also work with special interested organizations.
3. Blue Thumb SAFETY: Safety first! Teachers need to have outdoor certification (Sierra Club provides that type of training)
4. Blue Thumb Volunteers Impact: They have a wonderful PP presentation comparing two creeks that provide the relevance of the volunteers work.
5. The Blue Thumb Chemistry kit provided for volunteers costs $640 and they provide all supplies during their quality control sessions.
6. Blue Thumb Service-Learning Course at OCU: Contact the Math and Science Department and ask for Lab Tech, Beth
7. Contact Information for Blue Thumb: Kim Shaw, Blue Thumb Water Quality Educator, Water Quality Programs. 2800 N. Lincoln Blvd. Suite 160, Oklahoma City, Oklahoma 73105-4210, 405-522-4738, fax: 522-4770, cell 627-3787, firstname.lastname@example.org
RESPONSIBLE CARE FOR OKLAHOMA'S NATURAL RESOURCES