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USGS crew provides distraction for drivers stuck in traffic in Ferndale

USGS crew on Pioneer Bridge collect river water samples during traffic jam (February 17, 2017). Photo: Discover Ferndale

The Nooksack River rose enough to force a 24-hour closure of Slater Road this week displacing thousands of vehicles per hour onto Main Street. But some people going across Pioneer Bridge in their slow-moving vehicles were provided a distraction courtesy of a US Geological Survey (USGS) crew.

According to the USGS crew members on the bridge Friday, they were collecting river water samples. This is something done on a regular schedule and during storm runoff events.

The fish-shaped “sampler” is dropped into the river by a cable driven by a motorized reel until it reaches the river bed or a specific level above the river bed. A plastic bag inside the sampler fills with river water when the sampler reaches the desired level. Once the sampler is brought back up to the bridge, the bag is removed from the sampler, tagged and stored for later analysis.

The crew repeats the sampling process at multiple locations across the river guided by markings on the bridge.

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Similar Nooksack River samples collected by the USGS in the past have been analyzed for nutrients, major ions, organic carbon and suspended sediment.

 

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