Please cite the appropriate monitoring report(s) available at the following website for the timespan of data used:
The Ipswich River Watershed Association’s (IRWA) RiverWatch water quality monitoring program, in operation since 1997, enlists volunteers to collect data on the health of the Ipswich River and its tributaries. Volunteers monitor according to a state-approved monitoring plan that ensures that the data they collect is of good quality. The goals of the program are to document River conditions in order to identify water quality problems (including adequate river flow) and to use this data to develop solutions to observed problems.
In 1997 the Ipswich River was listed as one of the 20 most threatened rivers in America; and in 2003 its level of threat was heightened when it was ranked the third most endangered rivers in America by American Rivers, a national nonprofit, primarily due to low flow problems (American Rivers 1997 and 2003, IRWA 2003). Much of the upper half of the River dried up or was reduced to isolated stagnant pools in the summers of 1995, 1997, 1999, 2001, 2002, 2003, and 2005. In 1999, the River experienced record low-flows in May, June, July and August. Major fish kills were also documented in 1995, 1997, 1999, 2002, and 2005. In early 2000, the United States Geological Survey (USGS) completed development of a hydrologic model of the Ipswich River watershed that linked water withdrawals and low-flows in the River. The USGS found that groundwater withdrawals, especially in the upper reaches of the watershed, are the main factor responsible for reducing summer river flows (Zarriello and Reis 2000). Additionally, the diversion of wastewater to treatment plants outside the watershed also significantly reduces flow (Ibid). A recent USGS study shows that many sub-basins in the watershed experience severe flow depletion seasonally due to groundwater withdrawals and significant annual flow depletion due to surface water withdrawals (Weiskel, et al. 2010). A companion study by USGS and the Massachusetts Division of Fisheries and Wildlife found that the Ipswich River’s fisheries have been degraded by low-flow problems and the River has experienced a decrease in biodiversity due to the loss of river dependent fish species (Armstrong et al. 2001). The study identified critical aquatic habitats and recommended minimum flows necessary to preserve those habitats. The Ipswich River Fisheries Restoration Task Group then developed recommendations to restore healthy fisheries to the Ipswich River (2002). The goal of the RiverWatch program is to provide high quality data regarding the health of the Ipswich River. This monitoring program has established a crucial baseline of water quality and biological data, which continues to enable IRWA to work with researchers and government officials to better manage the watershed and improve the condition of the Ipswich River. Monitors take measurements at up to thirty-two sites throughout the watershed: 10 sites are on major tributaries and 22 sites are on the mainstem of the Ipswich River. Data is collected monthly on weather conditions, rain in the last 48 hours, water color, water clarity, water odor, water temperature, dissolved oxygen, conductivity, velocity and depth. The specific goals of the program are to define the range of values for dissolved oxygen, temperature and conductivity over the range of annual conditions and to promote stewardship of the river. Data collected by IRWA will be reported to IRWA members, state agencies, interested organizations, and conservation commissions through reports and presentations on the collected data.
American Rivers. 2003. Ipswich River. America’s Most Endangered Rivers of 2003. pgs. 18-19. http://www.americanrivers.org/site/DocServer/meripswich.pdf?docID=676
Armstrong, D.S., T.A. Richards and G.W. Parker. 2001. Assessment of Habitat, Fish Communities, and Streamflow Requirements for Habitat Protection, Ipswich River, Massachusetts, 1989-99. USGS Water Resources Investigations Report 01-4161. http://pubs.usgs.gov/wri/wri01-4161/
Ipswich River Fisheries Restoration Task Force. 2002. Ipswich River Fisheries Current Status and Restoration Approach. Ipswich River Watershed Association, Ipswich, Massachusetts.
Ipswich River Watershed Association. 2003. The State of the Ipswich River 2003.
MA Department of Environmental Protection. 2001. Stressed Basins in Massachusetts http://www.mass.gov/eea/docs/eea/wrc/stressed-basins.pdf
Weiskel, Peter, K., Brandt, Sara, L., DeSimone, Leslie, A., Ostiguy, Lance, J., Archfield, Stacey, A. 2010. Indicators of Streamflow Alteration, Habitat Fragmentation, Impervious Cover, and Water Quality for Massachusetts Stream Basins USGS Scientific Investigations Report 2009-5272. http://pubs.usgs.gov/sir/2009/5272/pdf/sir2009-5272_text.pdf
Zarriello, P.J. and K.G. Reis. 2000. A Precipitation-Runoff Model for Analysis of the Effects of Water Withdrawals on Streamflow, Ipswich River Basin, Massachusetts. USGS Water Resources Investigation Report 00-4029.