AWW Office COVID-19 Update

As part of Auburn University’s precautionary measures amid the COVID-19 outbreak, the Alabama Water Watch Program Office closed on March 16, at 5 pm until future notice. We will provide updates as possible.

All Alabama Water Watch related programs and workshops during this time period are postponed. Please visit the AWW website for details regarding specific events. AWW will continue to go about daily operations during the closure as AWW Staff will be working remotely during this time.

6/3/2020 The Alabama Cooperative Extension System (ACES) will not allow face-to-face meetings until at least August 8.

4/30/2020 – Governor Ivey issued a Safer-At-Home Order that superseded the Stay-At-Home Order starting on Thursday, April 30th at 5pm and will remain in effect until at least May 15th. Although, this order eases some statewide restrictions, please continue to take into consideration your personal health and safety, please review the Safer-at-Home fact sheet link below as you determine whether or not it is in your best interest to conduct water monitoring.

4/6/2020 – Governor Ivey issued a Stay-At-Home Order that went into effect on Saturday, April 4th. Therefore, in addition to taking into consideration your personal health and safety, please review the Order (see link below) as you determine whether or not it is in your best interest to conduct water monitoring.

Also, be aware that many public recreation areas are now closed to the public. The Alabama State Parks and National Forests of Alabama have listed current closings on their websites. Check with local officials about any parks or recreational areas in your communities.

USDA Forest Service Closed Areas:

AL State Parks Info:

To read about general safety recommendations and other concerns related to COVID-19 and water monitoring, please see this additional article, COVID-19 Water Monitoring Concerns.

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MeOWW – Renee Frachioni

On the most perfect spring day, I had the pleasure of leaving my computer screen behind to go into the field and conduct a recertification session for one of our volunteers, Renee Frachioni. We made the short drive over to Town Creek, which is one of the four sites where she does her monthly water chemistry monitoring in the Auburn area. Renee is a very methodical and careful monitor, so my job recertifying was quite easy. It gave me the chance to soak in some of the warm sunshine, to listen to the bubbling creek, and I even spotted a tiger swallowtail butterfly flutter by.

After we finished up, we sat down on a bench near the trail to her site and I took the opportunity to ask her a few “MeOWW Worthy Questions.” We are lucky in the AWW Office to be able to see Renee (and her husband Mark who usually goes with her to test on a monthly basis) when she comes to borrow a testing kit. Take a minute and get to know her!

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AWW’s Sergio Ruiz-Cordova Receives Spirit of Sustainability Award

Sergio Ruiz-Cordova is the Data Coordinator of Alabama Water Watch and a 2019 recipient of the Spirit of Sustainability Award. This award was created to honor Auburn University students, faculty, staff, and alumni who are making significant contributions toward sustainability on campus or in the community. Having dedicated his entire career to researching sustainable solutions in water quality and quantity, Sergio meets and exceeds these qualifications.

Sergio Ruiz-Cordova (center) with AU Water Resources Center Director, Dr. Puneet Srivastava (left) and AWW Program founder, Dr. Bill Deutsch (right)
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For the love of the darter

We hope that you enjoy the following article that one of our faithful AWW water monitors sent to us last week. Marty Schulman, water monitor extraordinaire, has been employing his monitoring talents in the protection of one of the most endangered fish species in Alabama, and for that matter, in the United States! Marty was the recipient of the coveted 2015 Alabama Rivers Alliance James Lowery Service Award (an expansion of the ARA Volunteer of the Year Award) for his service as an Alabama Water Watch monitor on behalf of US Fish and Wildlife Service at three of the five known habitats of the endangered watercress darter that exist worldwide.

The beloved watercress darter is indigenous to Alabama, and is now limited to a few springs and spring runs (four natural areas, and one where the darter was introduced) in the Birmingham area. Though small in size (measuring to about 2.5 inches in maximum length), this darter rivals tropical reef fish in beauty and coloration (see picture below).

male watercress darter fish
Male watercress darter trying to impress his girlfriend. Credit: USFWS (source:

After being trained and certified as an AWW monitor, Marty has been faithfully monitoring water quality at darter habitats in the Birmingham area since 2008. He and fellow members of the Watercress Darter Monitoring Program water monitoring group, have conducted 255 water sampling events and submitted their data to AWW’s online database. Some of the data records from Roebuck Springs, one of the remaining habitats of the watercress darter, are shown below. Continue reading “For the love of the darter”

Meet the fine folks that keep AWW growing statewide!

by Rita Grub

I bet you’re enjoying the warmer temps and signs of spring – soft greens and colors we haven’t seen for several months.  And maybe you’re like me – amazed that over 25% of 2014 is in the past.  It’s been a BUSY time for AWW:

  • There have been over 30 workshops and recertification sessions this year    awesome!!!
  • There have been 75 new Water Chemistry and 76 new Bacteriological monitors trained in these workshops
  • And almost 30 monitors have been recertifed!

Continue reading “Meet the fine folks that keep AWW growing statewide!”