This past spring, Foster Creek CD was at several community events to spread the word about natural resource stewardship with a focus on water quality with funding provided by the Department of Ecology. The season kicked off with Chief Joseph Dam’s annual Earth Day event where we teamed up with Okanogan CD and the Army Corps of Engineers to teach students about water rights and the impacts pollution has on our rivers and oceans.
Shortly after, we hosted a field trip with Waterville’s 5th graders and Mansfield’s 7th graders. The journey took each class to Walla Walla Point Park in Wenatchee where Chinook fry were released into the Columbia River as part of the Salmon-in-the-Classroom curriculum. Students learned to test pH, ammonia, nitrate, and nitrite levels in the salmon tanks as well as proper salmon care. This included cleaning the tank and feeding the fry to ensure their health in clean water. Afterwards, students received a VIP tour of Rocky Reach Dam thanks to our partners at the Chelan PUD. Check out our website for more information. Contact Elizabeth (509) 888-6375 if your class is interested in hosting a tank from January – April 2019.
In late April, South Douglas Conservation District hosted the 2018 Envirothon competition at Badger Mountain where Foster Creek CD administered the Aquatics test. High school students were tested on a variety of water quality topics such as pollution tolerance in macroinvertebrate species as an indicator of water quality, the water cycle, and the importance of maintaining healthy riparian and wetland areas. Congratulations to team Okanogan Grey for winning both the North Central Washington Envirothon and State Championship! Good luck in nationals!
By early May, the snowmelt was flooding the river banks at a high velocity – a perfect opportunity to discuss the importance of keeping our waters clean. To do so, we participated in the annual Kids in the Creek event hosted by our friends at Cascadia CD and U.S. Fish & Wildlife’s Education Services at the Entiat National Fish Hatchery. We helped North Central Washington high school students don chest waders to collect macroinvertebrate samples using a seine net and a D-net. Students learned how to identify the macroinvertebrates they collected using a dichotomous key. Many caddisflies were discovered – indicating a healthy stream as these macroinverts are intolerant of water pollution. Visit our website to learn more.
Looking ahead, you will find us at the North Central Washington Fair, Kids in the Creek in the Fall, and Salmon Fest!
If you are a teacher, a student, or a community member that would like to expand your knowledge about Douglas County’s watersheds, contact a FCCD staff member at (509) 888-6372.