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  Atrazine Testing - What's in Your Watershed?  
 

See the map of the April 23rd testing results below. Thank you to all our of volunteers!

Please note: the red pins indicate negative results while the green pins indicate positive results. We received a total of 2 positive results from the April 23rd sampling. Stay tuned for additional results!

 
     
  See the results of the May 21st sampling below:

 

We received a total of 53 positive results and 42 negative results. Thanks to our Round 2 volunteers!
 
       

 

 

What is Atrazine?
Atrazine is the most commonly applied herbicide in the United States with over 75 million pounds used annually across the country. Being a largely agricultural state, Nebraska farmers apply thousands of tons of the herbicide each year to their fields. Although this chemical can increase crop yields, large amounts often escape through rainwater runoff and enter our waterways. Once in the water, atrazine is taken up by aquatic life and can have a negative effect on reproductive organs. This phenomenon is commonly known as endocrine disruption. The Aquatic Toxicology Laboratory has been researching endocrine disruption in the Elkhorn River for the past several years and now we'd like your help to perform a large-scale inventory of atrazine in the basin. 

Testing for Atrazine in the Elkhorn River from Astro Pictures on Vimeo.


 
  "What's In Your Watershed?" Test Day
We are sponsoring a "What's in Your Watershed?" day on April 23, 2011 during which citizen scientists like you will test for atrazine at sites across the Elkhorn River Basin. You don't need any experience with water testing or laboratory equipment to help us out, just a willing attitude! See the video above for a demonstration. Printable written instructions are available here.

We will provide test kits to all participants and help you to find a test site if you are unsure of where to go. Upon reading your test results, all we ask is that you enter your data along with the location of your site into our website or phone it in to our researchers. From the data we will generate a map of the atrazine found throughout the river and tributaries and we will better be able to predict its movement in our local waterways. For more information, please contact Gwen Ryskamp at (402) 554-3302 or email gryskamp@unomaha.edu. 

How do I enter my results?
On April 23rd, a link will be provided on this site to enter your results. You will be asked to provide your name, affiliation (if any), GPS coordinates, and time and results of testing. We ask for your name so that we can track the number of tests vs. number of volunteers; your name WILL NOT be published. In fact, you can put whatever you want for you name (e.g. waterBob), as long as you put the same entry for each test you complete. We ask for your affiliation so we can return to various organizations with their participation results.

Why Should I Participate?
The data that we gather from this experiment will be used to advance the knowledge of how atrazine is transported in the environment. Although atrazine has been used for close to 50 years, never before has anyone attemped to gather pesiticide data across an entire watershed - this project is truly groundbreaking and you can be a part of it! We can't do it without you, so please contact us to find how out you can find out "What's in Your Watershed".

Where Should I Sample?

See the map below to see where the watershed boundaries are. We are asking you to sample any part of the main stem, stream, creek, or tributary of the river. Because we are looking for the distribution of atrazine, we ask that samples be taken at least 1/4 mi apart from eachother. If you need help finding a testing site, contact Gwen Ryskamp at gryskamp@unomaha.edu. Click on the map to download a larger copy.
 

Elkhorn

Map courtesy of the University of Nebraska -Lincoln Water Center
 
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