May & June in White Clay Creek

IMG_0854Our home base for the field season was at the Stroud Water Research Center in Avondale, Pennsylvania. Because we had access to this research center’s senior guidance and facilities, our field season was both productive and timely. Our work took place just downstream from the intersection of White Clay Creek and Red Clay Creek in Newark, Delaware. In this location, White Clay creek is a fifth order stream and is in the tidal freshwater zone.

We began our field season by installing a transect of piezometers that began at the bank of the stream and ended about 60 meters into the floodplain, perpendicular to the stream. These piezometers would be used to monitor the groundwater fluctuations due to tides, which could be a key player in nutrient storage events. We also installed a transect of sampling port nests in the stream and in the bank, so that we could later sample water from different depths and locations. We measured discharge throughout a twelve hour period on two separate days using an Acoustic Doppler Current Profiler. This gave us a tidal rating curve for our location. Using a manometer board, in order to quantify groundwater discharge interaction, we measured the difference between the pressure head of the stream and 5 separate depths in the hyporheic of three different locations in the stream. We also took sediment cores from both the stream and the bank in order to gain insight into how and why the type of sediment at our site might be affecting nutrient dynamics. Our final major field event was our twelve hour sampling day, “Day Awesome,” in which we sampled water and gas from our transect for multiple analyses back at our respective labs.

written by Sam Bray


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