By Courtney Wigdahl, Friends of Acadia Aquatic Scientist
As the days grow shorter and chillier, the first year of the Jordan Pond buoy project has drawn to a close. We removed the buoy from the lake in early November, to avoid damage to the buoy by ice during the winter. It has been a full and busy season, so I wanted to take a moment to reflect on our progress and look forward to our future plans for the buoy.
During this first year, we have accomplished quite a lot—from putting the buoy together for the first time, to troubleshooting issues with calibrating our sensors, to enjoying seeing the initial data come in from buoy, we have come a long way! We are proud to report that the buoy and weather station have collected over 11,000 time point readings since deployment on July 11, with readings at each time point for an array of parameters (temperature, algae, conductivity, organic materials, pH, wind speed and direction, precipitation, and more). This year’s thermal profile of the lake, with temperature readings (in degrees Celsius) down to a depth of 16 meters, shows the upper warm layer separated from the deeper cool layer during the heat of the summer. As we moved into the fall, you can see the upper layer cooling and finally mixing fully with the deeper water (shown by uniform temperatures throughout our measurements) at the beginning of November.
With water temperatures dropping, we decided it was time to pull the buoy—and a huge thanks goes out to the Park staff who braved the cold water and wind to get the buoy safely to shore! From there, we spent several hours scrubbing the buoy components to remove the algae growth that accumulated over the season. Even a few misfires with the hose make for a chilly afternoon in November! We carefully cleaned the individual sensors from the water quality sonde, and packed everything away for long-term storage—the sensors and solar panels, in particular, must be properly stored to make sure that everything will be in working order in the spring.
Though our buoy is in storage for the winter months, our efforts on the project continue as we prepare for next season. Next year, we plan to re-launch the buoy into Jordan Pond in early spring, in order to capture a full season of water chemistry and local environmental conditions at this important site. We are currently working on officially joining the Global Lakes Observatory Network (GLEON) to collaborate with other such sensor buoys around the world, and plan to attend next year’s meeting to present our new buoy site to the GLEON community. We also plan to develop new public outreach materials for display at the Park, and are hoping to add new sensors to the buoy to expand our measurements of water quality parameters. We will continue blogging about our progress and various water quality topics, so please keep an eye out for new material as we get closer to the spring.
We have had a dedicated support team throughout the project, with participants from the National Park staff, the University of Maine’s Climate Change Institute, and the Friends of Acadia working together to make this a very successful year—thank you to everyone who has contributed to a great season! If you have questions or comments about the project, please let us know—you can leave a comment here, or contact me at email@example.com with your thoughts. Thank you for your interest and support during this exciting first year—we will see you in the spring!