Potomac River Gets New Trackable Water Quality Buoy

There are some new “Eyes on the Bay” keeping watch over Mallows Bay on the Potomac River.

The National Marine Sanctuary Foundation and Maryland Department of Natural Resources launched a new water quality-monitoring buoy last week, and it’s now offering real-time data to the public and to scientists online.

The data collected at 15-minute intervals showing chlorophyll (concentration of algae), clarity, dissolved oxygen, pH, salinity and temperature. You can see the stats for this buoy (and many others) on DNR’s Eyes on the Bay program website by clicking here

The buoy is part of a five-year partnership between the two organizations to monitor water quality at Mallows Bay, which is being considered as a national marine sanctuary. The Foundation put up a $62,500 grant to buy the buoy and its equipment, while DNR deployed the buoy and will maintain it.

As an added bonus, the buoy has a fish telemetry receiver from the Smithsonian Environmental Research Center, to track the movements of tagged fish for research.

“Partnerships like ours with the National Marine Sanctuary Foundation are essential to our ‘all hands on deck’ approach to meeting our Chesapeake Bay restoration goals,” Maryland Natural Resources Secretary Mark Belton said.

Scientists and natural resources managers use data from this buoy and others throughout the Chesapeake Bay region to make decisions. And the watermen and recreational anglers can use the real-time data to plan trips.

Mallows Bay is uniquely known for its collection of historic shipwrecks known as the “Ghost Fleet.”

-Meg Walburn Viviano