About the Data:

Data collected by volunteers are entered into the SWIMS database. Each data entry is representative of a trip to the stream location. Data are entered under a project titled Citizen-based Stream Monitoring. Information in the Citizen-based Stream Monitoring project was collected in wadable Wisconsin streams and rivers by citizens monitors. The monitors utilized WAV sampling protocols to collect the data. Citizens monitor and enter data for three levels of the WAV program. Level 1 data inxludes air and water temperature, dissolved oxygen, stream flow, and transparency, and assessed aquatic habitat and macroinvertebrate communities. Level 2 data includes dissolved oxygen sampling with a meter, pH, continuous temperature, and transparency. Level 3 data will vary based on the project, but may include road salt monitoring or total phosphorus sampling. Some groups also monitor precipitation on a daily basis. Local groups determine their overall monitoring schedule, but most sample monthly between April and October for air and water temperature, dissolved oxygen, stream flow, and transparency. Aquatic habitat is usually assessed once a year in summer once leaves have emerged. The biotic index is determined twice a year -- during the spring and fall. Monitoring protocols are accessible by following the links to each parameter as they were listed above.

Terminology and Data Explanation:

Data entry, storage and quality control:
Data are entered into the database by trained local monitoring coordinators or a trained citizen volunteer for each local monitoring program. Quality control checks are performed by WAV staff to help ensure data are entered accurately.

Data are collected and entered into the database to support water quality-related educational initiatives. They can help establish baseline trends for stream quality. They are not intended to be used for regulatory purposes (e.g., 303d lists).

Description of column headers (parameters) when data are viewed:
(Note: Column headers are listed below in parentheses to denote headers as viewed when searching in spreadsheet format if they differ from headers as viewed when searching data in html format.)

Site names are determined by local monitoring coordinators. They generally include an assigned number for the local program's sites, the name of the stream, creek, or river being monitored, and the nearest road crossing or named location or structure (e.g., a dam, a park) to the water body.

WBIC is the Water Body Identification Code. It is a Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources code that is unique for each waterbody in the state. In html format, this value is listed in parentheses following the stream name.

Date (Sample Date):
This indicates the date when sampling was conducted. It is in the form mm/dd/yyyy.

Turbidity/Transparency Tube Reading:
This reading of water clarity is measured in inches. It is determined using a turbidity tube. Values may range between 0 and the length of the tube being used (usually about 120 centimeters).

Turbidity/transparency values are reported in turbidity units that are roughly equivalent to nephelometric turbidity units (NTUs). NTUs are units of turbidity (light scattering) measured with a meter, called a nephelometer. Turbidity/transparency tubes created for the WAV program were calibrated using formazin standards (formazin standards are also used for calibrating nephelometers). The minimum assigned turbidity value is <10 turbidity units, and the maximum assigned value is >240 turbidity units. Greater accuracy at low levels of turbidity is not possible with the length of tube that is utilized for transparency tube measurements. Some monitors use longer tubes. This should be indicated in the comments section of the database in such cases. View more information on measuring transparency >>


Biotic Index:
This value can range between 0 and 4. Scores of 2.0 or less are assigned "poor" stream health. Streams with scores between 2.1 and 2.5 are assigned "fair" health. This with values between 2.6 and 3.5 are assigned "good" stream health, and those with scores greater than 3.6 are assigned "excellent" stream health. It is determined using the Citizen Monitoring Biotic Index. View more information on the methods followed to monitor Biotic Index >>

Dissolved O2 (Dissolved Oxygen):
This header denotes dissolved oxygen values that are recorded in mg/L within the database. When both dissolved oxygen in mg/L and water temperature are entered into the database, the percent saturation of dissolved oxygen is automatically calculated. Atmospheric pressure of 740 mm Hg is used in the equation to determine the percent saturation for all samples entered into the database. View more information on measuring dissolved oxygen >>

O2 % Saturation:
This represents dissolved oxygen concentrations found in the stream as a percent of saturation. Saturation of a gas in a liquid is based on both the temperature of the liquid (in this case water) and the atmospheric pressure. This value is determined using a value of 740/760 mm of mercury (representing the atmospheric pressure at an average elevation across the state of Wisconsin). It is calculated automatically when data entry coordinators enter both a water temperature and a dissolved oxygen amount in mg/L.

Water Temp (Water Temperature ºC):
Water temperature is recorded in degrees Celsius within the database. View more information on measuring temperature >>

Water Flow:
Flow refers to measurement of stream flow or discharge. It is recorded in cubic feet per second or cfs. View more information about monitoring flow >>

Daily precipitation measurements are made in inches. Snow or other non-liquid precipitation is melted and liquid measure is recorded.

Air Temperature ºC:
Air temperature is recorded in degrees Celsius within the database.

Additional site or sample date-specific information is recorded in the database as comments.

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