Saturday, April 18, 2009

Saturday began at around 11:00am with Mark Tracy and myself making our way into the Montreal area after the drive down from St. Louis the night before. As Bob Lerch had not arrived yet Mark and I began changing charcoal packets at a few locations. Mill Creek Spring Cave and the Carroll Cave natural entrance were changed out fairly quickly. We noticed that the fix to the Carroll natural entrance gate still remained though still unsure of who actually “fixed” it. We went on to the Schoolhouse to wait for Bob but soon got a call that he was running late so we headed back to go ahead change whatever packets we could before meeting him at the Toronto Springs Parking Lot. We retrieved Barnett Hollow and Mill Creek, finding a few locals at the Mill Creek stop who cautiously eyed our work. As we drove around we could tell that the groundwater was definitely up in the area, very much a good sign for doing some dye injections.

We met Bob at the Toronto Spring Conservation Area who had two YSI Sonde dataloggers which we would be installing in a couple of the spring outlets at Toronto . We set up my laptop with the appropriate software for communicating with YSI’s and grabbed 13 charcoal packets, then headed out to the field. At the first spring on the south side of Wet Glaize we stopped to change the charcoal packet and decided to go ahead and install one of the dataloggers at the site. The dataloggers will be recording dissolved oxygen, turbidity, specific conductance, pH, and temperature. We hope to move the dataloggers around about every two weeks and hope that this will help us in showing the intricate differences in water chemistry and source between the 17 spring outlets. Once the installation was complete we headed further on, noticing that many of the overflow springs which are normally dry were running today. The rest of the packets were changed with no real incident. Mark provided a lot of help and allowed us to get photographs of all of the monitoring sites. We installed the second datalogger in the main spring branch after many of the larger spring have come together. We hope to use this station as our main control station used to compare the differences in water chemistry between it and the other spring outlets. After a quick break at Toronto Cave we crossed the creek to the north side and once we changed out the packets we headed back to the Schoolhouse.

Though the hours in the day were waning we still had to go and talk to a few landowners about trying to get access to their property for dye injections. We first went to Jim Thiesse’ house who lives up on the ridge between the north and south drainages of Barnett Hollow. Jim owns the large “Whirlpool Sink” that is in the upper reaches of the south arm of Barnett. Jim took us down into the sinkhole to check it out and it is indeed very large (60 feet deep and 150 feet across), but is a considerable distance from known cave in Carroll. May likely be a future dye injection location however, so very interesting to look at. Jim said we could come back the next day to look at some other karst features on his property where we might be able to introduce some dye. After leaving Mr. Thiesse’ residence we decided to take a quick look at one of our planned injection location at Traw Hollow at the crossing with Traw Hollow Road . Even though the groundwater in the area was high this losing stream was still very much dry with no overland flow at all. Then we headed to Homer Jones Jr.’s residence who owns a side tributary located across Highway 7 from Mill Creek Road . This is a drainage which actually crosses over known cave, is always dry, and was the only arm of Traw Hollow we had not yet traced. Mr. Jones seemed to be amenable to the idea though told us that the creek never flows except after a good rain. Since it was already raining and was forecast to throughout the night we hoped everything might work out.

With that our Saturday work was done and we went back to the Schoolhouse, whose new roof provided us with some much appreciated cover from the rain.