Friday, 22 Feb 2002

HOPE VALLEY, R.I.

The week is ending relatively quietly, as it began. Amazing the way turmoil managed to work its way into the middle. Happily, even the turmoil worked out well for WPWA. This afternoon a staff member of RIDEM with whom I have worked for several years called to ask me to look into a potential land acquisition. I felt compelled to apologize for the negative press. He hadn’t even read the paper. (Phew!) So it’s back to business as usual.

Today a group of student interns from nearby Brown University began their semester-long investigation of the history of aquatic herbicide use in watershed ponds. This is the type of pesky project that mildly annoys the state, but brings long-overdue and much-needed information to the fore.

This afternoon, I’ll be joining a member of our board of trustees — a retired scientist — for a canoe trip to the source of the spill I wrote about this week, where we’ll take sediment samples for analysis. (I hope the water’s not too cold!) Now that we’ve opened the can of worms, we have an obligation to our members and the general public to follow through with some hard facts on the impact of the spill. I hope our results are not what I’m expecting them to be, which is heavy on the heavy metals.

Meanwhile, Denise, our program director, is reveling in her successful presentation at a water quantity workshop yesterday, where she shared her stream-monitoring program results with a group of environmental professionals studying water quantity issues. She was also able to share some of the positive and negative aspects of such a program. The main negative aspect is the challenge of keeping volunteer monitoring programs afloat.

Our high school interns will be showing up this afternoon, too. Another weekly decision: What can we have the girls do today? Sometimes we’re ultra-prepared with a worthwhile and interesting endeavor for them. Other times, it’s all we can do to simply remember that they are coming.

On Monday, I’ll begin the week with more decisions. In the morning, it’ll be decisions about data-logging equipment that we plan to acquire for our strategic water monitoring program — decisions about what brands, features, and prices best meet our needs. Later, I’ll have to make a decision about managing a fishway construction project at one of the watershed’s largest dams. And throughout the week, I’ll be faced with decisions about how to prioritize the numerous items in need of my attention — ah, the life of a multitasker.

Hardly perfect, never boring, mostly fun: That’s my work in a nutshell. Luckily, right now I’m in for a bit of fun: Time to saddle up that canoe for today’s ride. Hold on to your hats!