2012 Volunteer of the Year

Utah Water Watch is happy to announce that the 2012 volunteer of the year is Trixie Williams.

Trixie lives in Utah County and monitors two sites on the American Fork River.  She was interested in monitoring above and below the Tibble Fork Reservoir to research the effects of recreational users and the reservoir on water quality.

Trixie was chosen for her dedication to monitoring and passion for nature.  In 2012 Trixie completed 22 monitoring events, more than any other volunteer.  She monitors twice a month during the warmer months and even braves the snow to continue monitoring in the winter.  Trixie often takes friends and family with her when she monitors so others learn about the importance of water quality!

We asked Trixie some questions to share her insights.

Why did you decide to volunteer with UWW?
I heard about Utah Water Watch from the Utah Master Naturalist program.  I love the outdoors and serving my community, so it felt like a good fit.

Did you have any background in science or monitoring?
I am also a monitor with U.S.A.  National Phenology Network-a program which monitors local flora and fauna for seasonal changes.  I have always loved science.

What have you learned about monitoring water quality?
One of the things that impressed me in the Water Watch training was learning how data and restoration can be used to actually improve the quality of water in local streams.  For example, the teacher showed recycled Christmas trees that had been used along a stream to capture sediment.

What do you enjoy most about volunteering with UWW?
I feel like UWW is a program with multiple benefits--I take different people with me almost every time, so it is an opportunity to educate and get others excited about preserving nature.  And the Division of Water Quality can use the data for managing the state's water resources.

What do you enjoy about your monitoring sites?
I love being more intimately involved with areas that I already hiked regularly.  It is fascinating to learn how to monitor and see how seasonal and recreational changes affect the water.  My particular sites are very interesting to me because one is above a heavily used reservoir and the other is below it; I wanted to learn what impact recreational users had on the water quality.  I have found it to be fairly minimal. The water below the dam has more sediment, is a bit cooler and has more algae (it is also shadier) but does not have E.coli contamination, which I might have suspected with the number of youth swimming and boating!  This time of year monitoring is an adventure as I hike through deep snow to access the sites.  I have been surprised that there are still a few active macro-invertebrates beneath the rocks at the lower site.

Congratulations Trixie!