Thursday, July 31, 2014

Last week of July

This month has flown by so quickly I can not believe that it is already over. This week my main route was mainly Lake Michigan so I had the early 5 am shift. But its not bad I don't mind being up that early. I get to see the sunrise and its lovely. Monday though we had a very strong wind from the East and with that it brought massive waves I have never seen before. They came crashing down on the beach making it very difficult to collect samples but I managed. Tuesday I was on the Lake Michigan route as well and it was very interesting because the waves were still rough but nothing compared to the day before. But it was really interesting to watch as the days went on the water seemed to become calmer and calmer to the point at some beaches the water looked like glass. But when you look at the beach's  tell a different story you can see all the destruction that the waves caused to the beaches. One of the beaches has really tall sand hills and then roll down to the water but after those waves it looks like a jagged cliff that you have to jump off of to get down to the water. After my route I would go back to the office and fallow up on my beach inspections so keep making calls to people who I hadn't talked to yet and then I would go out and drop off any of the beach display signs for the beaches that needed them. I had one call though that I told the beach manager what I noticed that was missing and the manager became so defensive and kept insuring me that everything was there . It made me laugh though because I was just at there beach the week before it was there. I couldn't understand why this person was trying to argue with me about really safety precautions. Isn't it the beach managers responsibility to keep everyone safe? But I was able to tell the manager that I wanted to see the changes with in my next route so hopefully they will get on that. Then today myself another intern and a full time lakes management went out on the Chain O Lakes and collected beach samples along with hab samples and we also did beach inspections that took us a little longer but we were able to get it all done in a timely fashion. Most of the beaches did well but just a couple that needed some things added. So next week ill probably give those beach managers a call and let them know what they need to fix. After beach samples I went on the same lake with another intern and we did plant sampling and identifications for the rest of the day. We had pretty much all lotus and pond lilies  around us. With the identification of the plants it helps us have a better idea of what plants are in the water and what are invasive plants we have and from there we can make a plant map and it can be usefully later one. I really enjoy all of the different things I am learning in this internship and I also like how I am constantly doing something different.   I have swim cast downloading this weekend so we will see how the lakes are doing this weekend and ill enter all the data into the website.

Sunday, July 27, 2014

THE week of July 21st

Sorry this is a little late in the week its just been a busy week. So this week I had my long route where I go to 37 plus beaches in one day and collect water samples and Hab samples. We haven't had much rain so I wasn't to sure how many resamples we would have but surprisingly we had 5 which is a lot when there isn't rain helping with the e-coli. Instead of going out on the boat this week I was asked to stay in and fallow up on beach inspections. So the last couple weeks when I would go to the beaches I have a check list of all the regulations the beaches should be enforcing. Most of the beaches did very well but there were a few that just were missing a couple things. So it was my job this week to call the people who are in charge of the beaches and let them know what they are missing and then from there we set up a date that everything should be fixed. The only hard part is getting a hold of the people in charge of each beach because when I call they are normally at work and call me back when im off work so the last week we have been playing a game of phone tag. Also I had a day of entering water quality data into the data base with that I just copy everything from the original paper and enter it into the data base that we have records stored in the computer. The stuff I entered was mainly secci disk how deep it was in the water what color the water was and the temp and surrounding conditions. Also if there were any invasive plants around and what ones and any other ordinary plants that were around. This week I also had the job to make copies of all our Hab samples paper work and write down the time they were taken and by whom and the date. Then I packaged them all up and got them ready to send to the lab that we send them to that will do more of an intense analysis of the Hab samples. I think I counter over  80 samples that we sent out. One of our lakes this last week also had a toxic algae bloom this week is called Microcystins and it can be very toxic because it does not release nitrogen oxide  so it just stays in the water creating and gross green sludge. So we told the beaches that they should advise people not to swim until the bloom dissipates and we needed to keep checking on the lake. Also this week my supervisor and myself went out on a call of geese keep dyeing by a retention pond. We went out and looked that the pond and figured that many young geese would swim in the pond but there are walls all built up around the water so if they are took young they may have troubles flying out of the pond. The business by the pond put a long board going down to the pond to help give them away out but the angle of the board may be to steep for the young geese to get out of. So we just need to advise them to put in a less steep board to it is easier for the younger geese to get out of.  Ill let you know what happens this coming week.

Saturday, July 19, 2014

Week of July 14th

This week was a busy week. I did the Lake Michigan route all week which I enjoyed. Its the prettiest route I think. On Monday I took a volunteer out and showed him how we sample the water and put all he data in. I felt bad because my route starts at 5 am and he did not seem to thrilled to be up at that time.  But after a hour or so of being up he didn't seem to mind to much. We haven't had much rain this week which was nice because when it came to  resampling beaches we only had one or two. One of the days after my Lake Michigan route I went out with my boss and did something I haven't done yet. At one of our beaches we have had really high bacteria counts so we started monitoring it everyday instead of once a week and we noticed we were still seeing the bacteria levels were very high. So my boss and I walk all around this river that flows out into the beach area where we are getting high numbers and we walked all around testing different areas of water looking to see  if there is high conductivity. We used a machine that once you covered the bottom it would read the conductivity if the number was above 2 it means it has high counts so we would take samples at these places that had high numbers. One of the places we sampled we found one of the houses washer was hooked up to flow out into the river so that can defiantly account to high numbers and then we fallowed a long stretch going up stream of high numbers and once we got to the end of the river we walked up to  the road and realized there was construction going on the other side of the road. We think there many be sediment drifting into the stream. At this point we contact the city officials to go look into the problem and then if we still have problems we would go back out and keep testing varies areas in the river and try to find a new reason why we are having high levels. When walking all along the river I had to be careful not to get poison ivy on me luckily I didn't get any. But I did get stuck in a hip high mud hole that I needed help getting out of. But over all this week was great I learned new things and got a glimpse of  what I could be doing in my future and I love it. Im constantly learning new things and go out and not doing the same old job. I am so lucky to be apart of such a great internship program!

Friday, July 11, 2014

Water Sampling

I can not believe that its already July my internship is already half way done.  I have learned so much in this pas month Im excited to see what this month will be like. This week I did my big inland route and it seem to take for ever the night before it rained like crazy so when I was doing my route it was so humid all day and muggie. With all the rain it caused us to have many resamples the next day I think we had to do the Lake Michigan route and then go out and do the resamples. This week has been a long one in terms of resamples. I was mainly on the Chain O Lakes doing water quality samples.  With that we go different parts of the lake and test the water and different depth and then take samples and then text it for stuff like how much sulfur and other things that are in the water. This week I was taught to drive the boat and learned to use the water GPS which is very tricky. I also was able to hold and lower down some of our most expensive equipment and with that I lower it at different depth and read off the reading we get then I record them down and then later we enter them into a data base. Once we get all the samples we need we go back to the lab and filter all the water out and then have it sent out to be texted for various things in the water. I also run water through a filter then once the water can not go through the filter anymore I take the filter off the filtration system and wrap it up and label it and set it aside to be sent out. Most of the time the filter is pea green color from the water. Next week Im doing the Lake Michigan route and that's always interesting so we will see how that goes.

Wednesday, July 2, 2014

Week of the 4th of July

So this week is a short week for us because the fourth. But all week we have really bad storms coming through and getting large amounts of rain in such a short amount of time. So this week was full of resampling beaches and closing them for high bacteria counts. A lot of the home associations are made because they wanted to use the beaches for the week of the fourth. So my work has been going back everyday to the beaches that keep having a high count and resampling. One of the beaches I even had to look for pipe that connects this pond to the lake and see if maybe that was causing the high counts. Also with this crazy weather we have had its make Lake Michigan much colder in the North part of the route today I was sampling that route and my feet got so cold in the short amount of time they were in the water. The reason why is the water 48 degrees in some parts. Also a beach that has been under construction for my entire time at my internship just reopened. Its really nice big and great area for swimming the only bad part they all ready have a lot of seagulls gathering on the beach. That can later cause closers if they have to many on the beach. Next week everything goes back to normal I will be doing my long route so Im sure ill have stories to tell after that. Have a good fourth!
Casey

Thursday, June 26, 2014

Water Samples

This week has been such a busy one, but it has also been a very educating one to add as well. At the beginning of the week I completed my south inland route which is around  40 beaches that I need to go to and collect water samples.  The next day I was told by my supervisor that I needed to go resample 13 of the beaches because they all had a high count for bacteria. As the week went on the number of beaches that needed to be sampled became smaller and smaller. Now we are currently at 3 beaches. What caused such a large number beach closers and resampling is all of the rain we have in the last week and then the hot temps have not helped much. I also experienced plant sampling this week. So we go around to different lakes and go to different spots all along the lake and throw a rack out and drag it then we pull the rack up and from there are able to identify plants. Then from there we are able to create a plant map that will better help us see what kind of plants are growing in the area and to have for future references. I am learning so much with this internship and I am so grateful for all of the opportunities I get to experience .

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Beach Sampling

Another week done. So this last week I have been going and doing a lot of resampling's lately due to all the rain we have had. When we get rain and it changes the direction of waves flowing in Lake Michigan we seem to have a spike in high levels of bacteria that makes it up safe for people to swim. So I go out and resample  beaches that have high levels and we always like to resample it twice just to make sure. I also have had to close down 5 beaches already. With the inland beaches when theres high bacteria levels its due to smaller amount of water and warm temp. so its a great place for bacteria to start growing. Swim cast was last weekend and it was kind of tricky to use but I soon got the hang of it the next day the only down side was I was using a computer that looked like it was from the 90's and it ran like it to. Very Slow! The swim cast gives us so much data like water temp and wind speed and direction and how much sun light we get and when its cloudy and I enter all the data in and it will give me a projection and with that projection it will read out numbers letting me know if its safe for people to swim in. Cant wait to see what next week brings.