Examining Water Quality in Two Coastal Communities

Categories: Research, Water Quality
Organization Name: 
Deep Creek Middle School and Blue Hill Consolidated School
Eleuthera, Bahamas and Blue Hill, Maine
Nell Herrmann
Classroom/Project team/names: 
Abigail Ramnarine and Erin Dooley
Powerpoint / PDF / Zip / Document: 

Abby Ramnarine from Deep Middle School in Eleuthera, Bahamas and Erin Dooley from Blue Hill Consolidated School in Blue Hill, Maine both studied water quality in their small, coastal towns. Although these students live nearly 1,500 miles apart, their findings were remarkably similar. Both students tested water for coliform bacteria, dissolved oxygen, biochemical oxygen demand, nitrate, pH, phosphate, salinity and turbidity. Their results indicated good water quality at both locations. It will be important to continue monitoring water quality, however, as sudden changes could alert us to problems.


Eleuthera, Bahamas

The fishing industry in The Bahamas is critical to the nation’s economy, employing 9,300 Bahamians at present (bahamas.gov). Annual fisheries production is 12 thousand tons per year, with an export value of 70 million USD (bahamas.gov). Major products include spiny lobster (Panuliris argus), queen conch (Lobatus gigas), stone crab (Menippe mercenaria) and grouper (Epinephilus spp). On the Family Islands of The Bahamas, including Eleuthera, subsistence fishing plays an important role in the lives of many Bahamians.
Because of our appreciation of marine life, and the importance of the ocean to our economy, the eighth grade class at Deep Creek Middle School in Eleuthera, Bahamas was curious about what the waters of our school’s settlement held. We decided to do something that, to our knowledge, nobody had done before in two sites near our school in southern Eleuthera. Throughout the month of November 2019, we went to two different local spots to test the water quality. These spots are referred to as The Jetty, and Gully Hole.

Blue Hill, Maine

Blue Hill, Maine is similar to Eleuthera in the sense that fishing is a critical industry. According to Governor Janet Mills, the fishing industry in Maine is the cornerstone of the state’s coastal economy and exceeds 600 million USD per year (maine.gov). In recent years, Maine’s lobster (Homarus americanus) harvest alone has been roughly 55,000 tons annually (maine.gov). Other important fisheries in Maine include fish like menhaden (Brevoortia tyrannus) and Atlantic herring (Clupea harengus), as well as shellfish including mussels (Mytilus edulis), clams (Mya arenaria) and scallops (Plactopectin magellanicus).
Students from Blue Hill Consolidated School have been monitoring water quality for over twenty years in our small, coastal town. During the 2020-2021 academic year, the Covid-19 pandemic made school field trips impossible. Although we weren’t able to study water quality as a class, individual students sampled and tested water in and around our coastal community. Data was collected from Blue Hill Bay and Curtis Cove, a popular swimming spot in the village of East Blue Hill.