TWP has been helping communities explore and monitor the health of the creeks in Contra Costa County for the last 15 years. Communities around Contra Costa have always been interested in making sure the creeks are healthy for humans and animals alike and monitoring creek creatures gives volunteers a unique opportunity to walk the creek and find the wild side of their watersheds near home. Juliana Gonzalez, our Executive Director, remembers discovering the headwaters of Castro Creek back in 2009 with a group of intrepid volunteers. “We even found a few newts that day in the El Sobrante Hills and the creek was full of dragonflies, bioindicators of good creek health”, she told us.
BMI (benthic macroinvertebrate) samplings are always a favorite at The Watershed Project since they help take a holistic approach to water quality monitoring. There is something childish about catching bugs, but the little creatures are excellent at telling the difference between a clean creek versus a polluted creek. Here is a picture of Helen Fitanides using the special net to capture aquatic bugs that attach themselves to the rocks of even the smallest creeks
Monitoring creeks has always been attractive to the volunteers since they get to use many different types of gear. Here is Lawrie McDonnel using a GPS unit back in 2010.
If you want to read more about our current water quality programs, check out our other articles published in this issue of Ebb and Flow!