by Bill Deutsch
January 29, 2014…OK, so I procrastinated in my monthly monitoring of Hodnett and Saugahatchee Creeks in Lee County (Tallapoosa River Watershed). Because the last day of the month was not an option, I was left with three choices: a) sample today with snow on the ground, b) wait until tomorrow after temperatures are forecasted to plunge to 13 F overnight, or c) the “unthinkable” … skip sampling in January. Trudging through the snow for the first time in 15 years of monthly sampling of Hodnett Creek was fun, and my old Border Collie, Jazz, accompanied me to make sure I didn’t get lost (I made sure she drank out of the creek downstream of where I monitored!). Air temperatures hovered around 1 C, but the water was a toasty 4 C at both sites (record low for my data).
Most of Alabama’s streams, including mine, are back to good flow after a year of seasonable rains, and Hodnett Creek had near-zero turbidity, thanks to those filtering Coastal Plain sandy soils and good vegetative cover in the watershed. We water monitors get to see the full range of conditions, from those steamy late summer outings to today’s adventure. And great news: AWW ended 2013 with 68 active groups statewide! What a tribute to the dedication of monitoring and stewardship that certified AWW volunteers have continued to demonstrate. Check out our long list of workshop opportunities in 2014 and register online or by calling our office toll-free as part of your (belated?) New Year’s resolutions!