Foster Creek was busy these past months teaching kids, teens, and adults about water quality and no-till farming with the support of the Department of Ecology. First, you may have seen us at the NCW Fair in Waterville at the end of August. Kids and adults got their hands dirty with our Columbian Plateau watershed model that showed how to prevent soil movement with no-till farming, cover crops, streamside plants, and sagebrush. Our collection of water macroinvertebrates, such as leeches, mayflies and snails, taught visitors about water quality and health of streams.
The water insect fun continued in September when we helped with Salmon Fest at the Leavenworth Fish Hatchery and Kids in the Creek at the Entiat Fish Hatchery. Elementary and high school students splashed into streams to collect macroinvertebrates by looking under rocks and shuffling rocks upstream of D-frame and kick nets. Then, students sorted and identified their macroinvertebrate to learn if they were tolerant or intolerant of pollution to determine if the stream was healthy enough to support fish.
In October, Angela Knerl our water quality technician, trained Nature Conservancy interns on how to measure water quality with specialized instruments including a Hydrolab. The interns measured pH, temperature, dissolved oxygen, turbidity, and specific conductivity. Their results linked the water with changes in the season, soils, and surrounding land use. Also, the interns helped with the monthly check of automated temperature data loggers. They learned how to verify that the sensors continued to take accurate readings. Contact us today if you would like to volunteer for a day in the field to learn more! 509-888-6372.