When it comes to water quality monitoring equipment, there can be some high-cost items. In some cases, there are cost effective “do-it-yourself” (DIY) approaches that do not affect the quality of data created.
Measuring water levels in a stream provides a baseline flow profile that can track responses to precipitation and drought, and can assist in the understanding of the relationship between pollution events and water quantity. An accessible tool to measure water level is a gage stick, which is calibrated in tenths of feet. While a pre-made 4ft gage stick can cost over $20 per piece, ALLARM has made their own for years for about $2-4 per piece. We buy 2” x 2” x 8’ rods, have them cut in half, and measure out tick marks with a permanent marker every 0.1ft.
Another tool includes sampling poles, which are useful for collecting samples in non-ideal conditions and makes monitoring more accessible. Prebuilt sampling poles can cost hundreds of dollars. We have been able to build these for ~$25 by building our own with an extension pole, a drill, and metal hardware. See full directions and materials in ALLARM’s Sampling Pole Do-It-Yourself Instructions. What are your favorite DIY projects that facilitate stream monitoring?