Convergence at the Confluence Recap, News Articles, and Photos

Written by Andrew Stacy on . Posted in Events, News

MORGANTOWN, W.Va. – (Wednesday, Aug. 13, 2014) – The 3 Rivers QUEST (3RQ), a program of the West Virginia Water Research Institute at West Virginia University, hosted the Convergence at the Confluence Conference in downtown Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania on Monday, Aug. 11.  The conference, funded by the Colcom Foundation, brought together those involved with the regional water quality monitoring program and gave the public an opportunity to learn more about water quality in the Upper Ohio River Basin.

The conference featured talks from the program’s research partners, including Melissa O’Neal of the West Virginia Water Research Institute, Dr. Brady Porter and Dr. Beth Dakin of the Center for Environmental Research and Education at Duquesne University, and Dr. Benjamin Stout of Wheeling Jesuit University.  The various research partners provided overviews of water quality data in their respective areas of focus, including the Monongahela River, Allegheny River, and the Ohio River. 

In addition to the presentations focused on the researcher’s data, the event also provided a great opportunity for the various watershed groups involved 3RQ to network and discuss, in an open format, their monitoring efforts. 

“Biweekly chemical monitoring in the Monongahela River Basin was initiated in 2009 and by early 2013 the 3RQ research partners had begun monitoring throughout the Upper Ohio River Basin,” explained O’Neal.  “We’ve also had numerous watershed groups involved, so a lot of data has been collected.  Bringing everyone together at this event allows us to discuss what we’ve been seeing and to build upon the collaborative monitoring model we’ve established amongst scientists and citizens.”

Presentations from the conference are currently available on the 3 Rivers QUEST Web site and can be viewed at,

For more information about 3 Rivers QUEST and to see water quality information from throughout the Upper Ohio River Basin, visit the program’s Web site,

About the West Virginia Water Research Institute

The West Virginia Water Research Institute has been in existence since 1967 and serves as a statewide vehicle for performing research related to water issues. It is the premier water research center in West Virginia and, within selected fields, an international leader.

About the Colcom Foundation
The primary mission of the Colcom Foundation is to foster a sustainable environment to ensure quality of life for all Americans by addressing major causes and consequences of overpopulation and its adverse effects on natural resources. Regionally, the Foundation supports conservation, environmental projects and cultural assets.

3RQ Convergence at the Confluence Conference – In the News

Scientists: Water in Upper Ohio Basin Remains Safe reported that drinking water in the Upper Ohio River basin is safe to drink, but it remains vital that the monitoring of runoff into the region’s rivers and creeks be continued. That’s the conclusion of water quality experts from Pennsylvania, Ohio and West Virginia who spoke Monday at the Convergence at the Confluence, a daylong conference hosted by the Three Rivers QUEST water-quality monitoring program. The event, funded by Colcom Foundation of Pittsburgh, was held at Duquesne University

Official: Dunkard Creek Cooperation Working–Dunkard-Creek-cooperat reported that Bi-weekly monitoring of Dunkard Creek by experts and volunteers, combined with industry cooperation, has helped ward off another Dunkard Creek fish kill, water quality advocates from around the region learned Monday, Aug. 11. At Monday’s conference, held at Duquesne University, just a few city blocks from the confluence of the three rivers, members reviewed what they’ve accomplished and looked at what’s ahead.

Experts: Ohio River Basin Drinking Water Safe, but Needs More Monitoring reported that drinking water in the Upper Ohio River Basin is safe, but it is still vital that the monitoring of run-off into the region’s rivers and creeks be continued. The Environmental Protection Agency has a limit of 500 mg of TDS per liter of water, said Beth Dakin of Duquesne University’s Center for Environmental Research and Education, who spoke at the event.

What is the Quality of Pennsylvania’s Water? It’s Getting Better reported that before the implementation of the Clean Water Act, Pittsburgh’s rivers were so polluted, they barely even had fish, according to Brady Porter, Duquesne University associate professor of biology. Stan Kabala, associate director of CERE, also was interviewed.


Photos from the 3RQ Convergence at the Confluence Conference

*Photo Credit – Lisa Mikolajek Barton, Duquesne University*

3RQ Presentation from the Facing the Challenges Conference NOW Available

Written by Andrew Stacy on . Posted in News

In November of this past year, Duquesne University hosted the Facing the Challenges Conference.  The two-day symposium explored the challenges of unconventional shale gas extraction and featured a number of researchers from throughout the region.

Dr. Paul Ziemkiewicz presented on behalf of the 3RQ research partners the findings on the effects of shale gas development in the three rivers region.

Facing the Challenges - Paul Video

River Rally in Pittsburgh – Colcom Provides Scholarships for Organizations in Southwestern PA

Written by River on . Posted in Events, News

Date:  05/30/2014 (All day) – 06/02/2014 (All day)
City: Pittsburgh
State or Province: Pennsylvania (PA)
Organizer: River Network & Waterkeeper Alliance
Type: Conference

River Rally is the nation’s largest annual gathering of grassroots environmental leaders who are working to protect and restore our most valuable natural resource – fresh water. Our 14th River Rally, co-hosted by River Network and Waterkeeper Alliance, will take place in Pittsburgh, PA, May 30-June 2, 2014. This one-of-a-kind event will bring together several hundred river leaders, volunteers, staff, board members, stewards and funders for an intensive sharing and collaborative learning experience that has proven to be the single most effective way to build and maintain a national movement of educated, effective river advocates and sustainable watershed protection organizations.

For More Information: 

Learn more at:

All Things River Rally
Katherine Luscher
(503) 542-8397

Sponsorship & Exhibiting
Matt Burke
(503) 542-8383

River Rally Scholarships for Organizations in Southwestern Pennsylvania

The Colcom Foundation is generously funding River Rally 2014 scholarships for organizations in southwestern Pennsylvania.

To Apply

Complete the incredibly user-friendly application (below) by March 13. Note that each interested individual must complete an application.

Wait until March 17 (or there-abouts) to receive e-confirmation of your scholarship award.

Use the coupon-code (included with your e-confirmation) to register for River Rally.


Q: Am I eligible to apply?

A: All staff, board and volunteers from river/watershed conservation organizations in southwestern Pennsylvania are invited to apply.

Q: How do you define “southwestern Pennsylvania”?

A: For the purpose of these funds, organizations must be located in one of the following counties: Allegheny, Armstrong, Beaver, Butler, Cambria, Fayette, Greene, Indiana, Lawrence, Somerset, Washington or West Moreland.

Q: Can multiple people from the same organization apply?

A: Yes – definitely. We encourage multiple individuals from the same organization to attend River Rally. Just remember that each individual must complete and submit an application by March 13.

Q: Your scholarship page notes that I must be a River Network Partner or Waterkeeper to apply for a scholarship. Is that true?

A: While we certainly would love to have you join our organizations, you need not be affiliated with either to apply for these specific funds.

Q: I apparently have an infrequent question. Who can I ask?

A: For questions about these scholarships (or anything related to River Rally), please contact Katherine Luscher | 503.542.8397.

Successful applicants will be sent (via email) an award letter and coupon code to use when registering for River Rally. Please do not register until after you have received the code.

Science at the Grassroots Level – 3RQ Featured in On Tap Magazine

Written by Andrew Stacy on . Posted in News

The West Virginia Water Research Institute (WVWRI) began collecting detailed water chemistry data for the Monongahela River on a bi-weekly basis starting in 2009.  While the resultant data proved beneficial in determining TDS (total dissolved solids) loadings in the Monongahela River, additional water quality data was needed from the river’s tributaries to provide a better understanding of the river basin’s overall health.  

To do so, WVWRI adopted a collaborative approach to water quality monitoring that included the dedicated efforts of numerous citizen based watershed groups.

Read more about the 3RQ program’s science at the grassroots level.