Abstract Title

Session S-04I: Citizen Science as a Tool for Conservation

Keywords

Citizens/Education

Start Date

1-5-2014 8:30 AM

End Date

1-5-2014 10:00 AM

Description

Building on 7 previous years of data collected by King County and available on the Puget Sound Stream Benthos website, Vashon Nature Center LLC, worked with King County Groundwater Protection Committee, and local middle and high school students to solve the mystery: why does Shinglemill Creek have low B-IBI scores? Testing the hypothesis that erosion may be affecting stream scores, scientists from VNC took aquatic invertebrate samples in two tributaries of Shinglemill Creek—one tributary with high erosion and landslide activity and one with very little erosion. With the help of 6 expert scientists, over 100 students sorted samples to order, calculated a rough B-IBI score, and explored the samples for differences in the invertebrate communities. There were some signs of impacts due to erosion. However, surprisingly, students found a large difference in mayfly richness and composition between the two tributaries leading to the discovery that one tributary drained ¼ of downtown Vashon (including a parking lot popular for student held car washes) and that low mayfly richness could indicate impact from heavy metal run-off. Students presented their findings to the KCGWPC and instigated a cascade of management discussions and actions the first of which is purchasing car wash kits to filter water before it is released to Shinglemill Creek. With the right level of support, students thrive when presented with real life science problems and can make a difference in watershed management.

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May 1st, 8:30 AM May 1st, 10:00 AM

Students can sort stream bugs and change watershed management: a case study from Shinglemill Creek, Vashon Island

Room 604

Building on 7 previous years of data collected by King County and available on the Puget Sound Stream Benthos website, Vashon Nature Center LLC, worked with King County Groundwater Protection Committee, and local middle and high school students to solve the mystery: why does Shinglemill Creek have low B-IBI scores? Testing the hypothesis that erosion may be affecting stream scores, scientists from VNC took aquatic invertebrate samples in two tributaries of Shinglemill Creek—one tributary with high erosion and landslide activity and one with very little erosion. With the help of 6 expert scientists, over 100 students sorted samples to order, calculated a rough B-IBI score, and explored the samples for differences in the invertebrate communities. There were some signs of impacts due to erosion. However, surprisingly, students found a large difference in mayfly richness and composition between the two tributaries leading to the discovery that one tributary drained ¼ of downtown Vashon (including a parking lot popular for student held car washes) and that low mayfly richness could indicate impact from heavy metal run-off. Students presented their findings to the KCGWPC and instigated a cascade of management discussions and actions the first of which is purchasing car wash kits to filter water before it is released to Shinglemill Creek. With the right level of support, students thrive when presented with real life science problems and can make a difference in watershed management.