May 21, 2012

Water study for Camp Ripley

Three Central Lakes College Natural Resources students and an instructor have completed water quality assessments for Camp Ripley Military Training Center. The 2011 monitoring report was prepared for the Department of Military Affairs by Michelle Dickson, Pine River; Blake Quick, Hackensack; and Brian Steffen, Little Falls. Instructor Kent Montgomery, who is working to develop a freshwater studies emphasis in the CLC Natural Resources program, helped direct the activity.

Dickson is a 2009 graduate of Pine River High School and a 2012 honor graduate at CLC, where she earned her Associate in Applied Science degree.
            Quick is a 2005 graduate of Walker-Hackensack-Akeley High School. He also graduated from CLC with an AAS degree this spring.
            Steffen is a 2009 graduate of Pierz Healy High School who was named to the fall 2011 Dean’s List at CLC.
            Students worked as summer interns at Camp Ripley, where Mark Erickson, environmental programs administrator, and Marty Skoglund, environmental program director, initiated the program and oversaw it last summer.
The team monitored three streams, sampling them six times at 30-day intervals from June to December 2011. Data was added to that which had been collected by the University of Minnesota-Duluth and St. Cloud State University.
            Samples were analyzed for phosphorous, nitrogen, suspended solids, and chlorophyll. They took temperature readings and measurements for dissolved oxygen, pH, conductivity, turbidity, and total dissolved solids.
            Fish and invertebrate community samples were analyzed as well as measures of physical habitat.
            Measures of water quality generally fell within expected limits for streams within the Upper Mississippi River Basin.
            Fish species found included sucker, chub, redbelly, fathead and brassy minnow, northern pike, mudminnow, brook trout, sculpin, and Iowa darter.
            The report concluded “The streams sampled at Camp Ripley are limited in size and flow, and not surprisingly did not support populations of large fish. They did, however, display moderate measures of diversity, with functional groups such as predators and small benthic foragers represented.”
            Camp Ripley streams exceed many of the Upper Mississippi River Basin streams in several areas of water quality, including total phosphorus and dissolved oxygen concentrations. 
The researchers advised future monitoring.
“We are currently finalizing this year’s agreement for another season of work at Camp Ripley and will employ a couple students,” said instructor Montgomery.