Written by SOLVE Jesuit Volunteer Corps Northwest Member, Gina Graziano
After one look at macroinvertebrates on a snowy winter day a few months back, we couldn’t wait to get a look at more bugs and try to analyze their presence and absence in McKay Creek, right behind our school. We got a sense of the bugs, found crazy case-maker caddisflies who have made their shell with Reed Canary Grass, and began to understand how these macroinvertebrates can be an indicator of stream health.
Macroinvertebrates can tell us about the health of a stream more holistically than a pH or chemical water quality test can. These bugs can live in a stream for up to two years and therefore their presence or absence can tell us about the health of a stream beyond the point in time we are sampling for water quality.
Last week, we took a sample of macroinvertebrates from Gales Creek out in Forest Grove and brought it to Glencoe High School to have two different sites to compare. We hypothesized that Gales Creek might be part of a healthier watershed than McKay Creek and wanted to see what the bugs had to say about that.
We grouped up and looked for bugs in our samples. We found case maker caddisflies, tiny copepods, damselflies, and much more. Students are compiling their data and doing an analysis of the data from the entire two days of surveying. We can’t wait to see what the analysis says!
We grouped up one last time to recap all of our incredible work at McKay Creek. We at SOLVE are so thrilled to have created the partnership with Glencoe this year and are so grateful for all the students do to restore their watershed. It is absolutely unbelievable how much blackberry we have removed, how many plants we have planted, and that we have the next three years to watch the trees and shrubs grow, cheering on new freshmen Biology classes who will steward their creek. Thanks for all you do, Glencoe!
Thank you, Clean Water Services, for funding this project!