Rock Run Water Tests August 2022
It’s the dog days and low flows of summer in the Laurel Highlands.
Here’s the results of our monthly water tests:
Air Temp – 69°F
Water Temp – 65.5°F
Linn Run Discharge – 1.90 ft³/sec
Linn Run Gauge – 1.42 ft
pH – 7.4
Alkalinity – 9.1
Lowest flow and highest water temperature of 2022 so far. Still hospitable to trout.
Flow goes down alkalinity goes up.
Rock Run Water Quality Tests for July
Here’s the results of the monthly water quality testing at the mouth of Rock Run for July 2022.
- Air Temperature: 68° F
- Water Temperature: 62.5° F
- pH: 7.4
- Alkalinity: 7.7
- Linn Run Gauge Height: 1.73 ft.
- Linn Run Discharge: 7.0 ft³/sec
For all the stats for 2022, see the Rock Run Page.
Rock Run Water Test Results For May
How’s that saying go? “Neither rain nor snow…”. The FTTU citizen scientists braved the rain, cold and wind to make their appointed rounds on Sunday May 1st. Monthly test results for the mouth of Rock Run were as follows:
• Air Temperature – 50° F
• Water Temperature – 48° F
• Linn Run Discharge – 13.9 ft.³/sec.
• Linn Run Gauge – 1.9 ft.
• pH – 7.7
• Alkalinity – 4.2
We also checked the contents of two leaf packs that were placed in Rock Run at the mouth in December. One of the packs had been washed away, but we counted 132 macroinvertebrates in the other. The majority of the sample was stoneflies and of those, the leaf eating roachlike stonefly was the most numerous. Also collected were net spinning caddis larva, a few mayflies, a crayfish, some sowbugs and a couple of cranefly larva.
The good news is that the stoneflies and mayflies are considered most sensitive to pollution so the fact that at least stoneflies are thriving in the stream is an indicator of good water quality.
Leaf Packs are leaves collected along the stream and placed into a net bag similar to what you might find potatoes or onions sold in at the grocery store. The pack is anchored to the stream bed and allowed to “soak” for a couple of months. The pack is then collected and sorted through to find what organisms have taken up residence there.
The testers braved opening day crowds to do water sampling on Rock Run. It was a beautiful but chilly spring day with air temps at 32°. Rock Run water temp was running at 39°.
pH came out at 7.65 and alkalinity readings were 5.0.
Linn Run gauge height was at 2.03 ft., and Rock Run was running medium/medium high and clear.
Neither rain nor snow nor frigid winter temperatures will keep the FTTU citizen scientists from their appointed rounds! A beautiful winter morning greeted the testers at Linn Run State Park on February 6th. Water levels were up with recent rain and snow melt and the air temperature was a chilly 17°.
Air Temperature – 17° Fahrenheit
Water Temperature – 34° Fahrenheit
Linn Run Gauge – 2.24 ft.
Linn Run Flow – 33.3 ft³/sec
pH – 7.7
Alkalinity – 2.8
The idea here is to record monthly pH and alkalinity readings at the mouth of Rock Run to track the progress of the chapter’s acid mitigation project on this important Linn Run tributary. The limestone sand deposits are placed in the headwaters to treat the stream for acidity. If readings at the mouth are good, then it can be presumed that alkalinity and pH in the entire stream must be healthy. A goal would be to have alkalinity readings of 10 at the mouth. We haven’t reached that goal consistently yet. Higher flows typically bring alkalinity numbers down as we see in his month’s readings, but overall, alkalinity of the stream has improved since the project began.
Icy temperatures and the first dusting of snow greeted the testers as the final water sampling at the mouth of Rock Run for 2021 was done on Saturday, November 27.
Air Temperature: 25° F
Water Temperature: 34.5°F
Linn Run Discharge: 7.95 ft³/sec
Linn Run Gauge: 1.76 ft.
The final averages for the year are 7.43 pH and 7.03 alkalinity. These are the best averages we’ve recorded since we began taking monthly readings in 2017.
2017-2018: pH-6.47, Alkalinity-5.9
2018-2019: pH-6.5, Alkalinity-6.1
2019: pH-6.5, Alkalinity-6.2
2020: pH-6.88, Alkalinity-5.92
2021: pH-7.43, Alkalinity-7.03
Plans are to add limestone to the headwaters in 2022.
Click Here Rock Run pH Chart 2021 for the complete 2021 chart.
Forbes Trail members and local volunteers wrapped up three days of water quality sampling and macroinvertebrate (trout bugs) studies on Linn Run and its tributaries in mid-November. They enjoyed beautiful weather for two of the days. But, the last day of macro, they had to deal with rain, falling temperatures and working under a dark pavilion to sort and identify the bugs. All in all, they collected a large quantity and wide assortment of bugs and the water quality in the stream is looking good.
Andrea Kautz from Powdermill Nature Reserve and Josh Penatzer from Loyalhanna Watershed Association were the bug experts assisting volunteers with sorting and making correct identifications. Strict protocols have to be followed for collecting the bugs from the stream, including the length of stream sampled, how long to kick the stream rocks and debris, and specific mesh nets to be used. The sorting and identification is a very tedious and eye-straining activity. Many of the bugs must be picked from leaf packs with tweezers.
Water quality samples were first analyzed stream-side by TU members for a number of parameters including pH, alkalinity and dissolved oxygen. Duplicate samples are being analyzed at St. Vincent College for additional parameters using a Microwave Plasma Atomic Emission Spectrophotometer. Analyses there include nitrates, phosphates and metals. Collectively the results will tell the overall health of the stream and its ability to support wild trout.
We thank all of the TU members and volunteers who gave of their time and talents to complete this portion of the study. We’ve had several volunteers from the PA Master Naturalist program offer their skills and expertise over the past year. We offer a special thank you to Elizabeth Bruner who is a 4-H and TU member and homeschooled senior from Blairsville, and Luke Sanner, 4-H member and sophomore at Hempfield High School for their participation. We are pleased to see the younger generation taking such an interest in coldwater conservation projects.