Sabot L'ours (sabotlours) wrote,
Sabot L'ours

Well well well

This is a follow up to the post I made the other day regarding my going out into the field to collect data on my day off. I had posted about this project in previous LJ posts in that it was a project started many years ago but entered limbo when the "official" project came to an end. What do you do with 200+ wells with continuously-recording data recorders in them? Most people wanted to end the study and call it quits. Some wanted to keep it going, but in a way which would provide useless data to whomever might want it in the future. I suggested that we keep things going on a limited basis and collect as much data as possible. While parties bickered about what to do, I did an end run and secured funding to do exactly what I had proposed. By the time everyone realized what I had done, it became a moot point since the work group imploded.

The overall proposal was to collect data as long as feasibly possible. SOMEONE would find the data useful down the line, so as long as the instruments were collecting data, let them be. This weekend I would download as much data as possible and let the instruments continue doing their things. One of the original proposals was to scale down the project into something more manageable. There were 2 parallel lines of wells at 8 locations. What about only collecting 1 line of data? That sounded good to me. But lets see what would be most feasible. I quickly got my answer this weekend. It had been 2 years since I had last visited the sites. There were 13 wells that I could have collected data from this weekend. 2 wells were buried by the irrigation district doing routine maintenance. 3 wells were completely destroyed by vandalism. 1 well had a data logger which refused to communicate with the laptop. 1 well was destroyed but the data logger was still able to be accessed and the data saved. The well, however, was plugged with sediment and unusable. That meant that 6 wells were still up and running with most of the data saved. Hopefully I'll be able to find the buried wells at a later date with the aid of a metal detector. It appears as if the surface water sites have all be destroyed. That's a major monkey wrench into the whole thing since the overall objective of the study was to look at the relationship between surface water and ground water. That doesn't work too well when half the data are missing.

So I'll continue to collect data in the short term to see just how worthwhile it is to continue. It's a bit depressing, however, to see how difficult it is to collect meaningful scientific data.
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