Equipment Policies and Use

In an effort to strengthen data collection in Polk County, the Land and Water Resources Department (LWRD) provides equipment for volunteers to use.

Currently, LWRD has four pieces of equipment that can be checked out:

  1. Soil probe to take soil samples
  2. Dissolved oxygen and temperature probe for lakes and rivers
  3. Flow meter for rivers and streams
  4. GPS unit to collect location information

If you are interested in using any of the equipment please contact LWRD at (715) 485-8699. Although the equipment is available free of charge, a 100% refundable deposit worth the value of the equipment will be required to ensure that if equipment is broken or lost it can be replaced.

Every effort will be made to ensure that everyone interested in using the equipment will have the opportunity to do so.

Instructions for each piece of equipment can be found by clicking on the links below. Additionally, instructions for using the dissolved oxygen and temperature probe, flow meter, and GPS unit are available in video format.

Soil Probe
Whether it is a large field or a small garden plot, sampling the soil for testing is always a good idea. A soil test is the only practical way of telling if lime (makes soil pH lower) and fertilizer (adds nutrients to soil) are needed.

Flow Meter
A flow meter is used to determine the quantity of water leaving or entering a water body by measuring velocity. This value, when paired with phosphorus values, are used to determine a nutrient budget for a body of water.

Dissolved Oxygen and Temperature Probe
This probe measures oxygen and temperature throughout the water column of a lake. Oxygen and temperature profiles are important for aquatic life and nutrient cycling.

Handheld GPS
A GPS point is important whenever you are collecting data because it allows volunteers to return to the same location year after year. Additionally, it ensures that data is tied to a specific location.