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|IceWatch USA||Become an IceWatcher||Why IceWatch?||Getting Started (Ice Area)|
|Getting Started (non Ice Area)||IceWatch FAQ||IceWatching Tips||Volunteer Application|
1. Select a waterbody location
Almost any waterbody is suitable for study. Waterbodies that are not as good for ice observations are: skinny lakes that run parallel to prevailing winds and are heavily influenced by air and wave movement; Lakes and rivers that are heavily controlled by dams - especially dams operated for hydroelectric facilities - or are affected significantly by upstream water control.
2. Select an observation point
Select an observation point that can be used each season and in future years. It should be readily identifiable so you or the next IceWatch USA contributor can easily find it and repeat the observations for many years to come. For small lakes a location with a view of all or most of the lake surface is preferable. For large lakes, or lakes with convoluted shorelines, a location that allows observation of a readily identifiable portion of the lake surface is preferable. This could be an arm of a separate basin of a large lake. For rivers, an observer should simply be able to see a fairly straight stretch of a gently flowing river that is free of restrictions. On both lakes and rivers select a site that is unaffected by local human influences such as dams, sewage or industrial outlets (currents from these outlets can affect ice thickness and therefore ice breakup for some distance downstream), or agricultural influences such as cattle watering areas, or fish farming operations where aerators are used to keep open water available.
3. Select the part of the waterbody you are going to observe
Your observation area could be an entire lake, the middle of a lake, a bay in a lake, or a stretch of river visible from a building, or road location, or any other easily identifiable location. It should be clearly defined so that someone could read your records and continue your observations at exactly the same location. Please remember to accurately describe the location from which you are making the observations. Make sure you keep your observation consistent! If possible, please submit a photo of your waterbody and observation point.
4. Record site description Click to download (see Sample Form)
Your site description only needs to be submitted once per site per season or if changing site location from previous year. On the site description you will give a name to your site and that will be the name you need to fill in on your observation forms so that the data gathered is properly recorded into the database.
5. Watch for snow, ice and wildlife, and then collect your observations IceWatch USA would like to know the following about ice:
These observations are important as they provide researchers with the length of ice duration and the associated length of the ice-free season of a waterbody. For example, sometimes ice will entirely cover waterbodies but then warm weather will cause the ice to partially or totally melt. This freezing and thawing may happen once, several times, or not at all. Likewise, sometimes ice will entirely melt in the spring, and then returning cold weather will cause the lake, bay or river to freeze partially or completely again. The combined information give researchers a better understanding of the process of ice formation and breakup, and whether these ice processes themselves are changing. This data will form the core of the IceWatch USA program.
IceWatch USA would like to know the following about snow (or rain during this period):
IceWatch USA would like to know the following about winter wildlife:
6. Record your observations on the IceWatch USA Observation Form (see Sample Form)
Accurately record your observations on the IceWatch USA Observation Form. File paper copies of your observations where you or another observer can find them next season.
7. Submit your observations to the IceWatch USA Coordinator
by emailing them to firstname.lastname@example.org or by mailing them to
P.O. Box 241
Clearfield, PA 16830.