Monitoring project expands

The Elk County Monitoring Project, spearheaded by Elk County Conservation District [ECCD] watershed specialist Kim Bonfardine, has expanded to the Brockway Watershed.The monitoring project is designed to keep an eye on stream conditions in the wake of the Marcellus Shale drilling by measuring the temperature, flow and conductivity in each stream. The total project cost for the four-year program is estimated at $329,330.As of Monday night's ECCD meeting, Bonfardine said one satellite telemetry system has been installed and another will be installed within the week.The systems were placed in the watershed with the assistance of the Brockway Water Authority and the Toby Creek Watershed Association."Both meters are expected to be relaying data on Jan. 1," Bonfardine said. "Anybody will be able to get on the website and see the readings."Bonfardine said initially she planned to install the meters in Big Mill Creek."I thought it would be a good idea to start there," Bonfardine said. "Well I found out you have to have a permit to dig a little hole in the Allegheny National Forest. We have to get a permit so I can't just start there."According to Bonfardine, the Brockway Municipal Water Authority was excited to have the meters installed in their watershed."I called up the Brockway Municipal Water Authority to ask them if they would like to receive these meters and have them installed," Bonfardine said. "The fellow was so enthusiastic, he said, 'You want them in before or after Christmas?"'Pick up a copy of the Thursday, Dec. 22, 2011 edition of The Ridgway Record for more.