Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Grant Creek Stream Team

As a new intern to WEN I have already had some awesome experiences and have learned so many new things!! I attended a groundwater presentation two weeks ago, and got the fortunate experience of attending a stream team session with Kevin and Lindsey this past Sunday.  Upon my arrival at WEN the weather was an unfortunate gray skies, and light snow. After loading up the truck and meeting the two awesome folks I was to spend the next few hours with, I found the sky looking a lot less gray.  The three of us headed to Grant Creek, near the Elk Foundation in order to test the PH, dissolved oxygen, velocity, and macro-invertebrate selection of the creek.  After unloading the equipment and setting it up, we began work right away. Lindsey got to work testing the dissolved oxygen and teaching me the ins and outs of the chemistry involved. Kevin and I put on waders and headed a little deeper into the creek in order to catch some macro-invertebrates.  Doing a little "jig" in order to get the little guys out of their hiding, I did what looked like the twist, and we caught mayflies, stoneflies, caddisflies, and other "macros" with a net and poured them into the bucket for further observation.  We had fun discovering the different "macros" in the creek, it was a hide and seek game played on a very tiny scale with plastic spoons.  Once we separated the little guys, we identified and counted them.  We then sent them back on their way down the stream.  After this was finished, all that was left was the velocity check for the stream.  Very scientifically measured, we timed the amount of time a tennis ball took to make it down stream from a measurable distance.  We did this ten times to average and ensure accuracy.  All in all it was a great way to spend a Sunday outdoors.  We measured the health of Grant Creek and I got to visit a new creek in Montana.

-Carlee Webb
Intern for WEN

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Stream Team Unite!!!

This past Monday, President’s day, the stream team headed out to take water samples from Patty Creek. When we arrived at our site destination below the holding pond, we were surprised to find the stream dried up! So we threw our gear back in the car and headed to Rattlesnake Creek. After the gear was set up we were ready to perform chemical experiments to check the oxygen levels of the creek while other stream team members were strapping on their waders and preparing to step into the freezing cold water…brrrr. After about a half hour we had already confirmed the oxygen levels in the creek and were waiting to sort invertebrates into ice cube trays to be counted and recorded. There sure is something special about watching these tiny little bugs swim around in a plastic container. My imagination was set free as I tried to fathom how many of these little critters there are just living in this one small waterway. It’s amazing! Thanks to everyone who made my first stream experience one to remember. 

Katie Thurlby
Watershed Education Network