Our Crest Gauge Project
Our Environmental Science class built four crest gauges which have now been installed in Newberry Hill Heritage Park. Crest gauges are used to monitor the hydroperiod of the wetland. We frequently monitor these crest gauges when we hike in the wetlands. We record the current water level as well as the most recent high water level. How does this work? A wooden dowel is stored in the PVC pipe along with cork shavings. When the water level rises in the pipe, the cork floats and sticks to the dowel. If the water level then goes down, the cork remains on the dowel at the high level mark. Now we know the current level as well as the highest level since the last check!
Our beaver pond was busy with macroinvertebrates in the late fall. We found several different types with Tolerance levels from 0-10. We learned that the presence of macroinvertebrates with a low tolerance for pollution is a good indicator of clean water. Phew! We want the salmon to be happy in our beaver ponds!
Fall Salmon Runs
Some of us were able to visit Chico Creek in the fall during the height of the salmon run. This spot where we found hundreds of salmon is just a mile from our park! Here is a photo of one of the salmon swimming upstream to spawn. Right now, there are no salmon in Newberry Hill Heritage Park because a large culvert just outside the park was replaced with two smaller culverts that are too small for salmon passage. We hope that our work in the park will eventually lead to salmon restoration.
Tree Identification! Can you name these trees found in Newberry Hill Heritage Park? Click on the photo to see the answer.
Copper Runoff Sampling Project
In March, we took on a project with the Kitsap County Surface and Stormwater Management group to test the runoff from the Klahowya parking lots. We chose 7 sampling sites around campus to test for copper, hardness, and a few other chemicals. Manchester Environmental Laboratories in Port Orchard tested the samples for us and we are anxiously awaiting the results so that we can make conclusions about our focus questions! Stay tuned!
Storm Drain Painting
As part of our copper runoff project, we decided to re-paint the storm drains on our campus! We borrowed a stencil from Ms. Lippy and used our project stormwater maps to locate all of the drains. Some of them had been painted several years ago, but many were worn away and unreadable. Now they are spiffy again and people will be aware that the storm drains go directly to Chico Creek and eventually Dyes Inlet!