Brandi Nelson, M.S.
Education: Bachelor of Science in political science and natural resources and environmental sciences (May 2002)
Master of Science in resource policy and behavior from the University of Michigan
McNair Project: Testing and Assessment of Participatory Farm Monitoring of Watershed (2001)
Mentor: Rhonda Janke, Ph.D.
In 1998, the "River Friendly Farms" program was developed to help Kansas farmers determine risk for health, safety, and environmental impact associated with non-point source pollution. Dr. Janke proposes an on-farm monitoring component to the RFF assessment tool. In this pilot study, the focus has been on nutrient and fecal coliform (e. coli) contamination monitoring. To test current sampling techniques two quality control experiments were done: the Equipment Rinse experiment, and the Sampling Technique experiment (which concerned the location where samples were taken). After data analysis, we found that rinsing the scoop had little effect on e.coli counts. In the Sampling Technique experiment, we found that taking the water from different areas of the stream didn't have a significant impact on the sample. However, a scoop taken deeply in the stream is likely to contain more sediment, which will influence coliform counts, total nitrogen, total phosphorous, and turbidity of the sample.