"Eventually, all things merge into one, and a river runs through it."
- Norman Maclean

Observe to Preserve

CRWO Program Director Doug Levin – developing a watershed model to educate all river organizations.

Doug Levin is the Program Director and Creator of the Chester River Watershed Observatory (CRWO). This pioneer observatory, an initiative of Washington College’s Center for Environment & Society, is designed to take the pulse of every aspect of the Chester River. The aim is to make the Chester the best understood watershed in the country. As well a further goal is to become a model for watershed observance that supports the health of the river and all the aquatic and social systems tied to it. “We are hoping that other watershed organizations can form and operate more effectively because we have given them a successful model to emulate.” says Doug Levin on one of his weekly on the water trips to observe river conditions.

As part of the program, water quality is measured by sensors in the Chester River, augmented by wells, sampling stations on land and autonomous vehicles “swimming” the river. Water flow, benthic habitat, and land use are investigated to better understand system dynamics and the interplay between people and the environment. The program not only involves observation, data collection and analysis. At it heart is the development of programs that educate teachers and students. The organization offers on-going programs that help teachers teach the subject and as well offers CRWO staff taught classes at schools and via field trips.

“We observe the life of our rivers in order to preserve the waters that bind us. There are lessons to be learned when we follow this current.”

Created and administered by the college’s Center for Environment and Society in collaboration with Hach Hydromet, multiple federal, state and regional institutions and agencies, the CRWO will connect surrounding communities to the river’s future and provide more information to base decisions that will positively affect the river and the Chesapeake Bay.

So far the organization started in 2014, has taught over 100 teachers in the Kent Country and Queen Anne’s County area and is planning to build an extensive data base of environmental literacy lessons plans.

Staff Profile – Doug Levin

Interviewed: 11/14/16

Written By: Lotte Bowie, Loblolly Productions

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