ORCA Students Help with New Underwater Monitoring Station

Press Release

Release Date:  January 25, 2010

Contacts:  Ardi Kveven, Executive Director of the Ocean Research College Academy (ORCA), 425-267-0156 or orca@everettcc.edu 
Sandy Howard, Department of Ecology, 360-407-6408, sandy.howard@ecy.wa.gov
Lisa Mandt, Port of Everett, 425.259.3164, lisam@portofeverett.com

Read about the Underwater Monitoring System:

New underwater instrument near Mukilteo displays real-time, online data about Puget Sound

EVERETT, WA – An underwater monitoring station recently installed in Puget Sound near Mukilteo is providing real-time, online data showing water temperature, salinity and dissolved oxygen levels.

The station is the result of a partnership between the Washington Department of Ecology (Ecology), the Port of Everett, and Everett Community College’s Ocean Research College Academy (ORCA).

Students at EvCC’s ORCA program will play a role in the maintenance of the probe and are integrating the data into their own long-term monitoring of Possession Sound.

The instrument is owned by Ecology and the location and access is provided by the Port of Everett.

This station is now one of a growing network of underwater moorings ranging from the outer Washington coast to South Puget Sound. Through the use of this real-time, remote monitoring equipment, scientists hope to better understand dissolved oxygen trends in Puget Sound. Dissolved oxygen is vital for a healthy marine environment. When oxygen levels drop, aquatic life cannot “breathe.”

A key benefit is that data that was previously only gathered monthly is now readily available 24/7.  The monitoring station provides updates every 15 minutes.

ORCA students have been monitoring dissolved oxygen levels once a month for four years in Possession Sound.

“The opportunity is very exciting for our students to see the immediate effects of floods, phytoplankton blooms, and other events as they happen,” said Ardi Kveven, executive director of ORCA. 

 “Partnerships like this one are crucial to our efforts to restore Puget Sound by 2020. We especially like the student involvement because it gives future generations a real stake in the recovery effort,” said Josh Baldi, Ecology’s special assistant for Puget Sound.

Students will share their preliminary findings at the upcoming open house beginning at 6 p.m., January 28 at EvCC’s Corporate and Continuing Education Center, 2333 Seaway Blvd in Everett.

EvCC’s Ocean Research College Academy is the only early college in the nation that uses the local marine environment as the interdisciplinary connection to critical analysis in all disciplines. Up to 50 students are accepted for the program each year.

Using an innovative, project-based approach in a “learning community” format, high school students earn up to two years of college credit for free while attending ORCA classes full-time at EvCC.

ORCA is sponsored by Everett Community College and was initially funded by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.

Visit the station online at: http://www.stccmop.org/datamart/observation_network/fixedstation?station=muk01 External Site Link