Checking the vitals of a river

story and photo by Peter Kent

The Intelligent River project’s first flight of buoys hits the Savannah River. Brian Johnson (front) and Robbie Moorer are research specialists from Coastal Carolina University, contractor for field deployment on the project.

Hundreds of sensors along the 312-mile Savannah River will collect and transmit real-time data about water quality and quantity to scientists in a wide-ranging study of river ecology.

It’s a step in the Intelligent River project, in which Clemson University researchers are teaming up with Coastal Carolina University colleagues to deploy and monitor the sensing devices. The data-collection system will include a network of remote sensors to collect, store, and send data on river conditions ranging from water quality and flow to storm-water runoff and pollution discharges. Wireless transmitters will send data on temperature, water clarity, dissolved oxygen, and other environmental indicators to Clemson. The information will be processed and posted on the Internet, where anyone can monitor the well-being of the river.

The Burroughs and Chapin Center for Marine and Wetland Studies at Coastal Carolina will provide watercraft and technical staff to deploy the equipment, replace field equipment as necessary, and assist in routine maintenance.

“CCU’s Center for Marine and Wetland Studies has extensive experience in deploying and operating a wide range of scientific instrumentation in diverse environments,” says Gene Eidson, director of Clemson’s Institute of Applied Ecology. “We are excited to have them as a partner.”

Learn more about the project here. For the Spring 2012 story in Glimpse, read of seeds and the river.

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