The 2023 ORBA/ORBCRE Summit took place on October 5th-6th, 2023 at Embassy Suites Cincinnati RiverCenter, located in Covington, KY. The Ohio River Basin Alliance (ORBA) and the Ohio River Basin Consortium for Research and
Education (ORBCRE) have hosted this annual summit since 1985 to provide an opportunity for academia, industry, and regulatory agencies to come together to discuss water issues across the basin. The summit had a feature keynote speaker, Colonel Jayson Putnam, Commander of the Huntington District, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. From 3RQ, Melissa O’Neal (Associate Director, WVWRI) and Rachel Spirnak (Water Resources Specialist, WVWRI) gave presentations.
successful remediation projects is accomplished through a combination of
reliable data, healthy partnerships, and sufficient funding. There is often a
gap between researchers with expertise in water issues and realized stream
restoration projects. A hurdle to many small colleges and universities is a
lack of funding, time, or connections to state agencies and other key
stakeholders involved in stream restoration. Generating Awareness for Project
Success (GAPS) is a collaboration between the Foundation for Pennsylvania
Watersheds (FPW) and Three Rivers QUEST (3RQ) to assist small colleges and
universities carrying out real-world stream restoration projects. Not only does
this enhance student learning, but also grows university-community partnerships.
In turn, faculty and students provide their local expertise and hands-on
assistance. Utilizing over 15 years of experience in coordinating researchers,
grassroots groups, and state agencies regarding stream restoration projects,
3RQ will provide the funding and technical expertise needed to set up a
successful remediation project. The aim of GAPS is to collect the baseline data
and information needed to secure funding for the engineering and construction
of stream remediation projects.
Today, 3RQ held its final Virtual Roundtable series,
Presenters came together to discuss projects occurring within the Ohio River
Basin. Huge thank you to Jason Heath, John Wenzel, and John Detisch for sharing
their time with us!
A new study by WVU and West Virginia Water Research Institute (WVWRI) researchers utilizes 3RQ data to analyze how management changes have impacted water quality in the Monongahela River Basin. The study focuses on twelve sites on the Monongahela River and its major tributaries that, as part of the 3RQ program, have at least monthly water quality data dating back to 2009. Researchers examine water quality trends from 2009-2019 under the lens of three key management changes that occurred within this time period. These management changes include a voluntary discharge management plan developed by the WVWRI and implemented by the coal industry (2010), Pennsylvania’s prohibition of produced wastewater in publicly owned treatment facilities (2011), and construction of a reverse osmosis treatment facility (2013). Since the implementation of these changes, primarily the voluntary discharge management plan which encompasses most of the watershed, TDS in the Monongahela has not exceeded the EPA′s secondary drinking water standards. The results from this study have demonstrated how bromide, chloride, sulfate, and TDS trend changes coincided with discharge and critical water quality management alterations to the Monongahela River Basin. While individual management decisions may be effective, combining multiple watershed-scale decisions targeting contributing constituents of TDS can lead to greater overall effectiveness. Published to Water in February of 2023, thearticle, entitled "Effective Management Changes to Reduce Halogens, Sulfate, and TDS in the Monongahela River Basin, 2009–2019," is free and open to the public.
On January 19th, 3RQ presented their second
installment of the 3RQ Virtual Roundtable series, focusing on Urban Watersheds
in and around Pittsburgh, PA. Viewers listened to Jan Raether, Plan/Build
Manager of Upstream Pittsburgh; Patrick Shirey, Associate Director of the
Pittsburgh Collaboratory for Water Research, Education, and Outreach; and Renee
Dolney of Chalfant Run/Thompson Run Watershed Association.
In the first session of the Three Rivers Quest (3RQ) virtual
roundtable, presenters discussed the 3RQ Generating Awareness for Project
Success (GAPS) program as well as unveiled the new 3RQ Mapping Tool! Both
projects have been developed with the goal of aiding watershed organizations
within our service area.
3RQ will host a three-part virtual series to learn about the research, conservation, and education-based efforts being undertaken by 3RQ member organizations and 3RQ partner researchers in the Upper Ohio River Basin. Mark your calendars for the third Thursday of each month from 10 - 11 am, December - February. Registration is free and required.
The story of 3RQ-- including its origins, observed trends in water quality data, and successes through collaboration-- is now available in text. "Managing TDS and Sulfate in the Monongahela River: Three Rivers QUEST" is chapter 16 in the new textbook titled Environmental Impacts from the Development of Unconventional Oil and Gas Reserves.