Winter Monitoring Safety Tips

While winter wonderlands may make for a gorgeous landscape, it can result in treacherous conditions for water quality monitoring. Safety is always our number one priorty. Please be mindful of the weather and water conditions when going into the field. If you cannot access your site safely due to snow, ice, or slippery conditions, check in with your local coordinator about adjusting your sampling date. Additionally, you might find that your site is frozen, and you are not able to obtain a water sample. While some volunteers have offered to cut out a chunk of ice to melt and test, that is not necessary, feel free to record “frozen stream” on your data sheet.

Here are some tips and tricks for monitoring this winter:

  • Keep an eye on the weather forecast to plan appropriate clothing and timing for monitoring.
  • Wear study shoes, cleats or yak tracks to provide extra gripping if your site is slippery or icy. Having a sampling pole, walking stick, or a hiking pole is helpful to prevent falling.
  • Certain meters and probes perform slower in colder temperatures, be sure to dress in warm layers and be patient!
  • Wear water repellent clothing and reduce exposure of water directly on unprotected skin.
  • Keep extra gloves, hats, shoes, and jackets in the car, just in case something gets wet. Wet clothing while out in the cold puts you at risk for hypothermia.
  • Contact your local CMC Coordinator if any issues arise.