Splashing into Week 1

Natalie waves instead of recording data!
Natalie waves instead of recording data!

It’s block 32 for me at CC, and I am surprisingly glad to spend it taking Water! Water is a notoriously difficult Environmental Science class, but thus far has been better than expected.

Last week, we went on a field trip to Mt. Princeton Hot Springs! Never did I ever expect that CC would put me up in cabin with hot springs access for three days – but we had a great time. There was a good amount of work involved, but we also got to soak for several hours every night and hang out in cabins and cook delicious meals together.

What we were technically doing was taking measurements of Chalk Creek. Each day we put on our waders and got in the creek, measuring width, depth, elevation of surrounding land, stream velocity, and size of pebbles. From the data we collected, we were able to calculate how much water is flowing through the stream each second now, when it floods a few feet, and when it floods dramatically. Using historical data from a probe downstream, we found an approximation for how often a certain grassy area would be flooded (my answer was every 2.6 million years – a little large but I think I did the math right!).

Betsie, myself, and Darren get ready to do some major stream measurements at Chalk Creek!

Our two professors, Miro and Becca, took time on the trip to get us thinking about ways to look at different streams and assess them for habitat health. We performed experiments to measure flux of nutrients or other things that might be floating in your stream. One afternoon we collected detritus from the streambed and tallied all the macroinvertebrates that were found – far more than I expected!

Miro’s classroom – lecturing about flux dynamics from a stream.