Scientists ask boaters to be careful not to harm the delicate buoy as they pass under the bridge.

As people stroll along the riverfront in Cape Girardeau, they may notice a yellow buoy that arrived the last week of March. It looks like a small boat floating near the Bill Emerson Memorial Bridge. buoy testing

According to the Missouri Department of Conservation (MDC), the buoy is part of the MDC’s cooperative effort with the National Great Rivers Research and Education Center’s (Great Rivers Ecological Observatory Network (GREON) project to monitor water quality.

The local buoy is one of seven buoys placed in various places along the Mississippi River housing water quality and weather monitoring equipment. The Cape Girardeau buoy is monitored by Molly Sobotka, MDC resource scientist.

“This buoy allows us to monitor the water for oxygen, temperature, nutrients, and clarity and collects data on wind and sunlight,” Sobotka said. “All of this information helps us understand the water quality in the river, regional differences in river reaches, and how sediments and nitrogen flow through the system.”

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