Students Conduct Water Quality Study on Duck River

Recently, students in the Watershed Sciences Capstone course conducted an extensive water quality study of the Duck River in central Tennessee, which is known to be one of the most biologically diverse rivers in North America. Over 250,000 people rely on the river as their sole source of drinking water. Water samples were taken along the entire 284 mile length of the river, from its source on the Highland Rim to its confluence with the Tennessee River. The samples were analyzed for 67 metals and for the bacteria E. coli. The class compared the results with similar samples taken in streams atop the Cumberland Plateau. This is the first time that extensive sampling for metals has been conducted along the river. Students presented their results at the 2014 Scholarship Sewanee event as well as to the Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation.