Indian River Observatory Network (IRON)
St. Lawrence, Jefferson, and Lewis Counties, New York
With funding from the NY Department of Environmental Conservation
(DEC), RATES, in collaboration with the Indian River Lakes Conservancy (IRLC), established the Indian River Observatory Network (IRON) (as a subset of REON) in the Indian River Watershed, a HUC-8 watershed containing several impaired lakes. RATES authored a Quality Assurance Project Plan (QAPP) regarding the siting, installation, and operation, of 10 monitoring stations throughout the watershed, which was approved by the DEC. RATES identified suitable locations, received permission for installation from property owners (individuals in some cases, local and state government entities in others), and installed the 10 stations in accordance with the QAPP and in compliance with state and local regulations. The stations are equipped with sensors for stage height and for assorted meteorological parameters, and can be further equipped with sensor instrumentation for various water quality parameters as needed. RATES operates the IRON network in conjunction with the IRLC and with local Lake Associations, and works with these and other organizations to pursue research initiatives utilizing these IRON network. RATES has recently been awarded funding by the St. Lawrence River Valley ReDevelopment Agency (SLRVRDA) to expand the monitoring capabilities of the IRON network to include water quality monitoring of Black Lake for 2022, with support of the IRLC and the Black Lake Association. The resulting real-time water-quality data will be used to both predict the occurrence and understand the causes of harmful algal blooms on the lake, which is a worsening problem that harms both the appearance and the usability of the lake, depressing both tourism and property values.