Greetings from Arne Bomblies, Ph.D. P.E.
Vermont State EPSCoR Director
Congratulations Teams on a great year of work!
Veronica Sosa-Gonzalaz, Janel Roberge,
Rachel Goldstein, Declan McCabe
Students: Kelly Cuevas, Heidee Rios, Audre Wells
|Abbott Lawrence Academy|
Our project was based on microplastics because of how common they were but it felt like they were not talked about enough. Microplastics are found in everyday products like cleansers, scrubs, and water bottles. Through pollution and our own shower drains, the microplastics can make it into our drinking water. One factor that interested us was infrastructure and the role it could play in the finding of microplastics. The purpose of our research was to determine if microplastics are present in everyday sources of water and to understand why the microplastics are or arenâ€™t in the water, and how this can affect humans. We looked into different water sources: bathroom water, filtered water, and bottled water. Considering the fact that microplastics are present everywhere, we werenâ€™t expecting the water to be completely cleared of them. We predicted that the water would most li ...
Students: Sophia Cruz, Erika Velez, Wilson Vo
|Abbott Lawrence Academy|
We as a group sought to answer how the application of fertilizer impacts the concentration of nitrates within a water source. We did this by first creating an artificial environment in which we would simulate rainfall. In this artificial environment we would pour water in a concentrated way so that it would most accurately simulate rainfall in a normal environment. We applied the fertilizer 4 different ways, mixing the soil with fertilizer, applying fertilizer on top, layering or then filtering the runoff through hay. We also had a control in which we measured the nitrate concentration of water in order to make sure that the water did not have a substantial amount of nitrates that would change our data. Then once ready we would go through the experiment, collect the run off and then using a nitrate probe, measure the nitrate concentration within the run off. We would repeat this 2 more t ...
Students: Beatrice De Leon, Alana Nogueras
|Academia Maria Reina|
Adverse changes in the quality of water in a stream can affect anything its water touches. Changes in communities affect plants, insects, and fish affecting the entire food chain as water quality deteriorates. Through water quality monitoring, communities can assess the health of their streams and rivers over time. There are various ways you can measure water quality, but in this project, we used macroinvertebrates population and the levels of nitrogen and phosphorus in the water to compare the water quality of two urban streams: Quebrada Josefina and Quebrada El SeÃ±orial. The sites were assessed, macroinvertebrates were collected and identified, and Nitrogen and Total Phosphorus were sampled. The Quebrada El SeÃ±orial has higher nitrogen and phosphorus levels than Quebrada Josefina. Also, Quebrada El SeÃ±orial had more macroinvertebrates families in their water than Quebrada Jose ...
Students: Hailey Hunt, Brendan Quinn, Jackson Sargent
|Bellows Free Academy - Fairfax|
Summary of Bellows Free Academy-Fairfax, BREE Research 2019 Cooperating Teacher: Thomas Lane BFA-Fairfax Students: Jackson Sargent, Brendan Quinn -June 17 - 21 2019 attended BREE/CWDD Training at St. Michaelâ€™s College, Colchester, VT -June 2019 tentative research question: Is Ice a Vector for Phosphorus Movement into Lake Champlain? -July 2019-Site assessment and water sampling Black Creek, E. Fairfield -August 2019, Abstract submission, American Geophysical Union, Bright STaRS Program -August 2019, additional research question; Are There Natural Barriers to Phosphorus Movement? and water sampling Black Creek. -September 2019, Water sampling: Black Creek, Hubbleâ€™s Falls (Essex, VT), Natural Dam (E. Fairfield), Brownâ€™s Pond (Bakersfield, VT). Macrobenthic sample collection, Black Creek. Placement of Stage Sensor, Black Creek. Attended NSF assessment of BREE ...
Students: Alyssa Provost, Emma Strack
|Champlain Valley Union High School|
If youâ€™ve driven near Taft Corners in Williston, Vermont, youâ€™ve probably noticed the amount of construction underway. This phenomenon is not new. Development has been happening in this part of the Allen Brook Watershed for more than 10 years. Our research investigated the effect of this development on the macroinvertebrate community in the Allen Brook. Since macroinvertebrates are key indicators of stream health, we quantified families of macros to help us determine the effect of increased urbanization on the Allen Brook Watershed. We hypothesized that as urbanization increases, the number of macroinvertebrate families will decrease. Land use and macroinvertebrate inventory data was compared from 2011, 2015 and 2019. We found that from 2011 to 2019, urban land use increased from 6 to 16%. For macroinvertebrate analysis, we categorized families into 3 categories: sensitive ...
Students: Peter Hyams, Lauren Kovacik
|Champlain Valley Union High School|
Stream health is important for protecting biodiversity. This richness of organisms is vital for ecosystem resilience, which is particularly important for preparing and managing the issues associated with climate change. Many factors affect stream health. This study aimed to explore the effect of elevation on stream health. Specifically, it was predicted that an increase in elevation will result in a decrease in abiotic stream health parameters, total suspended solids, total nitrogen, total phosphorus. This decrease will result in an increase in biotic metrics, both macroinvertebrate density and richness. Five stream health parameters were used to measure the effect of elevation on stream health. Abiotic parameters included total suspended solids (TSS), total nitrogen (TN), and total phosphorus (TP). TSS are particulates like soils, metals, and organic materials suspended in the water co ...
Students: Endrick Garcia - Torres, Lorraine Rosario
|Colegio Rosa - Bell|
Attending to the EPSCoR BREE Program in Vermont changed our lives. We learned so many things through the different workshops, field experiences, and laboratory training. In addition, we had the opportunity to meet and share with the staff and the other peers from different schools. Our team worked hard to meet our responsibilities with the program despite the hurricane season and earthquakes. We were able to collect the samples from both streams irrigated by stream waters, identified the macro-invertebrates and analyze the quality of both streams. The objective of this study was to evaluate the water quality of two streams irrigated with spring waters in the north of Puerto Rico. For this purpose, the study utilized the benthic macro-invertebrates guide from GutiÃ©rrez-Fonseca, et. al., (2016). diversity as well as physical assessment - chemical parameters of streamâ€™s water. T ...
Students: Abby Brooks, Tunmay Gerg
|Essex High School|
Abby Brooks and Tunmay Gerg compared nitrate testing methods. They compared five different tests to the results from the lab where all nitrate testing is done for the EPSCOR program. The results show that the Vernier Nitrate Probe could be used a cheaper alternative to sending the samples to the lab. The use of testing strips, colorimetry, and spectrophotometry were all found to be unreliable.
Students: Fatima Khan, Emily Moll-Celis
|Essex High School|
EHS 2020 EPSCoR -Fatima Khan A data dig was conducted. The question was to determine if the richness and abundance of EPTâ€™s would be greater in a streamâ€™s higher elevation than in a streamâ€™s lower elevation. The alternative hypothesis was that the richness and abundance of EPT's would be greater in a stream's higher elevation than in a stream's lower elevation. Four stream systems in Vermont were chosen to compare the ratio of EPTâ€™s/Total number of macroinvertebrates at different altitudes. Then, a two proportion Z Test was conducted to determine if the population of EPTâ€™s compared to total macroinvertebrates differed significantly in higher altitudes of a stream compared to lower altitudes. The data collected did not support the alternative hypothesis. There was not enough evidence to reject the null hypothesis and the proportion was not statistical ...
Students: Aleeya Scott, Delmy Vargas
|High Point High School|
Stream health is important and provides multiple benefits to all of us, so it is beneficial that we make sure it is healthy. The purpose of this investigation was to conduct a stream assessment in Beltsville, Maryland. The stream that the researchers decided to check is called Little Paint Branch. The reason why the researchers picked this stream, is because it is near from where they live and it has an impact on our lives, so it would be nice to know if it is healthy or not. The way that they conducted the assessment was by collecting data from the stream between August 2019 and February 2020. Each time they went, the researchers collected three water samples from different areas located in the stream. Little Paint Branch, with 22.5 km of length, flow through Prince George and Montgomery Counties in Maryland. Little Paint Branch originates in the vicinity of Burtonsville, MD and flow ...
Students: Jennifer Gonzalez, Midelys Resto
|Juan Ponce De Leon High School|
The Juan Ponce de Leon HS BREE team in Florida Puerto Rico worked on the analysis of data collected since 2016 to 2019 on the Yunes River. The research site is located in Ciales, Puerto Rico. According Holdridge Life Zones this is a subtropical moist forest of the north-central part of the island. It is an agricultural area with banana and coffee crops. Near the place there are rural roads and a bridge. The Yunes River is a tributary of the Limon River in the basin of the Rio Grande de Arecibo. The basin supplies the Dos Bocas reservoir. This reservoir provides water to more than 600 thousand people in eight cities. Long-term observations allow us to better understand the dynamics of changes in the ecosystem. In the past five years, our island has experienced dramatic natural events such as the great drought of 2015, hurricanes Irma and Maria in 2017, and earthquakes in early 20 ...
Students: Willow Hughes-Muse, Julia Worland
|Long Trail School|
The Effect of Soil Surface Cover on Discharge in Response to Extreme Events Julia Worland & Willow Hughes-Muse Long Trail School, Dorset VT Project Summary Our project worked to look at the effects of cover crops and cover crop substitutes on soil filtration, water turbidity, and concentrations of certain nutrients, which helped us to analyze water quality. This directly connects the responsibility we have as humans and Vermonters to protect nature and the environment around us. It is becoming crucial for farmworkers to do what they can to protect their land, as with global warming comes more and more extreme weather events and increased farm runoff. This is a problem both farmers and environmentalists face, as runoff not only damages ecosystems but can lower yields, especially in the long term. Runoff can contaminate sources of drinking water and absorb into aquatic plants, contributin ...
Students: Cooper Pinaud, Nicole Wright
|Mount Mansfield Union High School|
A thalweg is the deepest section of a stream channel. Thalweg data is a good indicator of stream health and biodiversity. The more varied the thalweg of a stream, the more variety of habitats there are for macroinvertebrates to thrive in. We measured thalweg data in two local streams by finding the deepest point at every meter, testing 50 meters upstream and downstream from our reach. This gave us 100 data points per stream to do analysis with. There are many methods of thalweg analysis, and we chose to investigate standard deviation and wiggliness factor. Standard deviation evaluation calculates the standard deviation of each data point from the highest bed height. A larger standard deviation indicates a greater variability in depths. Wiggliness factor evaluates the deviation of consecutive point elevations. Similar to standard deviation, a larger wiggliness factor means there is a grea ...
Students: Daniel Clip, Carolina Jimenez
This research is based on the resistance and resilience of macroinvertebrates of two rivers through the 2011-2019. Macroinvertebrates are organisms that are large (macro) enough to be seen with the naked eye and lack a backbone (invertebrate). Aquatic macroinvertebrates live in many different types of aquatic habitats. Some live-in fast-moving streams, consuming leaves, twigs, and other plant material that falls into the water. Others live in wider, sunnier rivers or shallow ponds, scraping algae off rocks or on the surfaces of large aquatic plants. Macroinvertebrates can have an important influence on nutrient cycles, primary productivity, decomposition, and translocation of materials. Macroinvertebrates also serve as valuable indicators of stream degradation. The many roles performed by stream-dwelling macroinvertebrates underscore the importance of their conservation. The streams in ...