b"SURFACE WATERAre there specific water quality levelsAll Day, Every Day.that help the beetles thrive? Hofmeier: We don't have a great baseline onThe Kansas Department of Wildlife, Parks & those levels right now, and that's why wereTourism installed a sophisticated monitoring station incorporating a water quality monitoringin Historic Lake Scott State Park to help protect the component into our workto better understandScott Riffle Beetle.these environmental conditions. If we can get a better handle on the exact parameters allowingThe integrated system from YSI incorporates an the beetle to persist and thrive, then we can setEXO Sonde outfitted with a number of water quality baseline requirements for the spring and worksensors that keep tabs on the endangered species toward maintaining those conditions.habitat. Water is pumped from the springs into a flow cell where measurements are taken, then We lack quite a bit of life history informationpumped back to the natural environment. on this species and these data could be hugely beneficial for making inferences into timing of larva emergence and pupation. An extensive water quality record will go a long ways for refining our understanding of the beetle's life cycle.We know that at least in other aquatic beetles, dissolved oxygen is an important parameter to monitor for respiration. Were also monitoring nitrates for potential groundwater contamination and water levels in the spring to account for any groundwater depletion. Were also tracking temperature as well since it has a strong impact on dissolved oxygen, as well as a number of other parameters like specific conductance, pH, and others that may have some impact on the population.The station is self-contained and powered by a combination of solar panels and large batteries. All of this data is collected at hourly intervals usingIt is designed to operate 24/7, 365 days a yeara monitoring station in the field. With real-timeeven during harsh Kansas winters where ambient data available, if we were to notice a sharp changetemperatures drop well below freezing. in the habitat conditions, we could take action to protect the beetle as well. Were working on settingThe beetles dont head out for winter, Hofmeier up automated alerts to inform us of these types ofjoked. We had to take a holistic approach that emergency water quality levels, but first we need towould work even in the harshest weather conditions establish the baseline numbers to know in Western Kansas. whats normal.And what would be a real life example of actions your team would take based off of those alerts, let's say for dissolved oxygen? Hofmeier: If we did receive an alert from the monitoring station, we would be able to remove some beetles from the springs and store them in aquariums for short-term storage. We could then investigate the changes in water quality or level and return them to the environment when it was safe to do so. If there were a longer-term disturbance in the ecosystem, it would be much harder to manage.Whos Minding the Planet? 17"