Project Overview

The Tom Ridge Environmental Center is located at the entrance to Presque Isle State Park in Erie, Penn. TREC is open year-round, offering visitors insight to what they can expect at Presque Isle State Park and the surrounding Great Lakes Region. TREC also serves as a center for research, contributing to conservation efforts, promoting environmental awareness, and helping to preserve the unparalleled beauty of Presque Isle.

The Regional Science Consortium is one of the many educational and research organizations establishing itself at the center. The collaborative, non-profit consortium coordinates educational and research projects for Lake Erie and the upper Ohio River Basin.

The consortium’s objective is to have all branches of science working in collaboration to exchange expertise, equipment, and ideas while sharing researchers and students as well. One of the consortium’s most recent research tools is a multi-parameter weather network that utilizes NexSens real-time radio telemetry data loggers.

System Description

Two site locations were selected within the park. The first weather station was installed near Presque Isle’s Lake Erie shoreline, while a second was placed on top of the TREC’s 75-foot-tall glass tower.

Researchers at the consortium selected the Vaisala WXT510 multi-parameter weather transmitter to measure six important weather parameters at each site. This unit simultaneously measures wind speed and direction, liquid precipitation, barometric pressure, temperature, and relative humidity. Complementing the Vaisala weather sensor is a global solar radiation sensor.

Both the Vaisala WXT510 weather transmitter and the pyranometer feature a plug-and-play interface to NexSens real-time data logging systems. Furthermore, the complete data logging and sensor system package is conveniently mounted on a two-foot mast.

In 2008, the Regional Science Consortium added a NexSens MB-300 water quality data buoy to its real-time monitoring network. Securely housed within the buoy is a YSI 6920 V2-2 multi-parameter water quality sonde that samples for temperature, conductivity, pH, dissolved oxygen, and turbidity. The real-time water quality buoy is a valuable supplement for researchers, who previously had to collect manual grab samples to test for these parameters.

At user-specified intervals throughout the day, water quality and weather data is logged by the NexSens 4100-iSIC data loggers and sent via radio telemetry to a radio base station within the center. There, NexSens iChart software collects the data and automatically posts it to NexSens’ web datacenter, WQData. This provides virtually unlimited access to consortium members throughout the United States for use in their research or to determine water quality and weather conditions remotely for planning sampling trips at Presque Isle.

The weather and water quality data augments a predictive model for the determination of E. coli contamination on the beaches of Presque Isle. It is part of a complex system that provides information for making decisions regarding beach advisories and restrictions to swimming.

Equipment

NexSens CB-50 Data Buoy

The CB-50 Data Buoy is designed for quick deployment in emergency response situations including industrial spills and natural disasters.


NexSens iSIC Data Logger

Specifically designed for remote environmental monitoring applications, the iSIC data logger offers superior data acquisition performance in extreme conditions.


NexSens SDL500 Submersible Data Logger

The NexSens SDL500 data logger is designed for remote environmental data logging applications with manual data upload via laptop or desktop computer.


YSI 6920 V2-1 Multi-Parameter Water Quality Sonde

The YSI 6920 V2-1 sonde is an economical logging system, ideal for spot sampling or short-term monitoring and profiling of temperature, conductivity, pH, ORP, dissolved oxygen, and turbidity.


Vaisala WXT520 Multi-Parameter Weather Sensor

The Vaisala WXT520 multi-parameter weather sensor is a compact and lightweight multi-sensor instrument that measures the most essential weather parameters.


LI-COR LI-200 Solar Radiation Sensor

The LI-COR LI-200 Solar Radiation Sensor measures solar radiation, suitable for measuring global sun plus sky radiation.


NexSens iChart 6 Software

iChart software simplifies and automates many of the tasks associated with acquiring, processing, analyzing and publishing environmental data.


NexSens WQData LIVE Web Datacenter

WQData LIVE is a secure web datacenter providing an online interface for viewing environmental data. It offers 24/7 instant access to project data using any web browser.