Why I am Here (at Prince William Forest Park)

Why I am Here (at Prince William Forest Park)

Hi everyone! I’m Savannah and this summer I am the Hydrology Assistant intern in the Resource Management Division at Prince William Forest Park (PRWI) in Triangle, VA. I am from Rochester, New York and currently attend college at Ohio Wesleyan University, which is about 30 minutes north of Columbus, OH.

I am double majoring in Environmental Studies and Geography. I decided to intern at PRWI because the internship offers a great combination of hydrology and Geographic Information Systems (GIS), two things I am passionate about and hope to combine in my career.

Savannah by the Resource Management office, her duty station

Upon arriving at PRWI, the first thing my supervisor had me do was hike Lake 1 Road to visit Lake 1. Lake 1 Road was the first trail I hiked at PRWI and it was a nice brisk morning hike.

Lake 1 is why the primary project I will be working on this summer exists. The park has five lakes (though two lakes– Lakes 2 and 5– are really the same lake) and each lake is associated with one of five Cabin Camps. The lakes, as well as the Cabin Camps, were created by the Civilian Conservation Corps when they dammed up certain locations along Quantico Creek. Since the lakes are man-made they need to be dredged occasionally to manage the sediment buildup, especially as the park’s Piedmont soils are highly erodible. If they are not dredged then they become like Lake 1. Lake 1 no longer looks like a lake. Rather, it looks like a pond.


Lake 1 Road trail
The pond that is Lake 1

Lake 1’s former swimming area (the land side of which is marked by a concrete wall) is now just a mushy piece of land.

The former swimming area (right of the concrete wall) is now mushy land

This fill in due to siltation is especially concerning as the lakes are cultural and historical resources. My primary project at PRWI will be to complete a bathymetric (depth) survey of Lake 2/5 (which is the park’s biggest lake) to help inform future dredging activities. To complete the survey, I will be using a manual depth gauge and a depth sounder and then will be processing the data in ArcGIS Pro.


On my first day, I was able to get out on the lake and take many measurements along four transect lines. I messed up on some things at first, such as forgetting to start the GPS point collection, forgetting to change the transect line count, and not having the transect rope be taut enough, but after much practice I definitely got the hang of it!

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