Last week, students from Rock Creek Middle School came out for their last visit to their eponymous creek to do some macroinvertebrate surveys. They had some help from another Green Team for their survey: students from Clackamas High School. Clackamas High School students have been doing macro surveys since October and they even gave an outstanding presentation on their findings from the past year at our Green Team East Side Student Summit, so the Rock Creek Middle School students could not have found better mentors for this activity. The Clackamas Green Team first talked about why doing macro surveys is important by explaining how this survey can give us a good indication to how healthy this creek actually is. They explained that it can be better to look at the invertebrate population in streams rather than looking at chemistry and temperature (which can frequently fluctuate). These bugs live in the stream all the time and are subject to these fluctuations. Since some types of invertebrates are very pollution sensitive and others are more pollution tolerant, looking at the types and numbers of invertebrates in the stream can give a fairly accurate indication of stream health. Then the Rock Creek students split off with their High School mentors to go see what they could find.
It was exciting for everybody because a lot of different kinds of macroinvertebrates were found including pollution sensitive ones like mayflies, stoneflies, and green rock worms, a kind of caddisfly! The presence of these indicate that the stream has not been too compromised by pollution. The restoration work that both Rock Creek Middle School and Clackamas High School have done on Rock Creek in planting natives, and removing invasive plants, all contribute to reducing the pollution flowing in the creek by reducing the amount of sediment, heat, and some chemical pollutants like heavy metals. During their last visit of the school year, it was nice to see that the effort that these students have done all year in trying to restore the Rock Creek Watershed is paying off in keeping the stream healthy.
SOLVE Green Team and the Rock Creek watershed thank you both Rock Creek Middle School and Clackamas for all of your hard work this year!
Thanks to Water Environmental Services for funding this project!