Water Sentinals

Bayou Teche Water Sentinals Annual Workshop

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Bayou Teche Water Sentinals enjoyed a skills update workshop and a nice afternoon with crawfish boil by Tom Holland on May 14, 2016 at the home of Trent and Linni Haines. We did review presentations on all of our water quality sampling parameters including Dissolved Oxygen, Temperature, Conductivity, Turbidity, Nitrates and pH. We were also able to re-stock five water sampling teams with new sampling chemical reagents for continued reliability of our data. We have gained two new sampling teams for a total of seven teams that are now conducting water quality testing, four times per year on the upper reach of Bayou Teche.

Bayou Teche Water Sentinals have been sampling quarterly since we started in May of 2010 and have built a solid set of data tracking the basic parameters of water quality in upper Bayou Teche.

Bayou Teche Water Sentinals


The Bayou Teche Water Sentinels is teams of local volunteers who participate in quarterly water quality tests along Bayou Teche. Testing parameters include temperature, water clarity (turbidity), salt and mineral levels (conductivity), acidity-alkalinity (pH), nitrogen levels, and dissolved oxygen. These basic streamside tests can go a long way in telling us how healthy the Bayou is and what kinds of pollutants or problems are present. We would like the program to grow into one that not only tests water quality, but actively works to build a sense of shared responsibility and ownership for Bayou Teche and other waterways in Louisiana. All testing equipment and training is provided free of charge by the Delta Chapter Sierra Club. The cost of equipment is supported by donations from Sierra Club, Teche Project, LDEQ and others. If you are interested in joining the Water Sentinels or want to learn more, contact Woody Martin at hrmartin2sc@gmail.com or 337-298-8380.

Bayou Teche Water Sentinals produce really good data

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Bayou Teche Water Sentinals have been sampling for more than three years since May of 2010. Results of the sampling are shown in the graph that accompanies this article. The graph is adjusted to show trends. The data shows that dissolved oxygen (DO, the green line) in Bayou Teche goes down as water temperature (the red line). Colder temperatures cause the water to hold more oxygen, and warmer summertime temperatures along with organic activity in the watershed tend to deplete the oxygen. DO is good for fish and the aquatic organisms they feed on.

Thank You Carl Bakay

Carl demonstrates water testing

We note the passing of our friend, mentor and helper Carl Bakay. Carl had been the leader of the Bayou Teche Water Sentinals sampling program and had been a scientific advisor to us before he took the lead on the sampling and data reporting project. Carl had found money to upgrade some of our sampling equipment, had done training workshops for our water sample team members, and had always been available to go out on sampling day and fill in where needed. Carl was a true scientist. He understood the value of consistent data collected over time for showing water quality trends. He made every water sampling day an important event with reminders, offers of help and tips on how to do things. Carl was the guy working our Water Sentinals table this last time around for the Shake Your Trail Feather Festival.

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