Cape Cod Rivers Observatory

New Initiatives

As the Cape Cod Rivers Observatory celebrates its first 18 months and becoming increasingly confident in our ability to maintain our existing activities for the long-term, we are considering priorities for expanding or intensifying our efforts. Some new initiatives that we have implemented or are considering are summarized below.

Expanding to Additional Rivers
Since its beginning in May 2017 CCRO has focused on six Cape Cod rivers. We’ve resisted expanding too soon, recognizing that sustaining these long-term “observatories” is essential to the overall value of CCRO. We are increasingly confident about the long-term viability of CCRO, and are therefore considering priorities for expansion. Initial priorities will likely include additional streams on Cape Cod as well as select rivers on the mainland side of Buzzards Bay.

Monitoring Discharge
Beginning in July of 2017, CCRO scientists began taking weekly discharge measurements at all CCRO rivers. These discharge measurements are essential for us to calculate chemical fluxes from rivers to the ocean. We have also installed pressure transducers at all sampling sites to log water depth and temperature every 15 minutes, which will allow us to calculate river discharge nearly continuously.

Assessing Downstream Trends
Although most of our sampling occurs near the mouths of rivers so that we can determine water and biogeochemical fluxes to the ocean, CCRO has begun assessing where and when to include multiple sampling stations within a single river. Sampling at multiple points along a stream channel will provide a fuller picture of how the chemistry and discharge of a river varies from its headwaters to its estuary, potentially helping to identify stream reaches requiring further study.

Deploying Real-time Sensors
CCRO is investigating the deployment of sensors capable of providing “real-time data” – that is, data that are uploaded remotely and updated hourly or even more frequently. Deployment of these sensors would greatly increase our capacity to capture variations caused by storms, day/night differences, or other transient events that are often missed by weekly sampling.