Taking steps to improve the watershed
On a sun-drenched Thursday morning, Sierra Sun Publisher Jody Poe, office manager Pat Greenlaw and editor Paul Raymore picked a spot on Cold Creek near the Sun office for a volunteer monitoring effort to improve the Truckee River watershed.
“Just a little creekside chemistry,” Poe said as the team tested the water’s dissolved oxygen level.
The quarterly tests are part of an Adopt-a-Stream program launched by the Truckee River Watershed Council in April.
So far, nine teams of volunteers are gathering data from 10 streams within the local Truckee watershed that extends from the outflow of Lake Tahoe to roughly the state line.
Beth Christman of the Truckee River Watershed Council said she hopes the program continues indefinitely.
The Council received funding for the first year of the project from the Sierra Nevada Alliance, which received a grant to help increase water quality monitoring in the area.
“Right now we’re establishing baseline data,” said Christman, “conditions as they stand now.”
Volunteer teams visit their chosen streams and conduct several tests to find out temperature, acidity, dissolved oxygen levels and water depth.
The Sierra Sun team received training in April on how to take measurements and record the data from Cold Creek, which conveniently flows past the Sun office at Donner Lake Plaza in Truckee.
“I was looking for a service project that was tied to the environment,” Poe said. “And since the stream ran right behind our property, it seemed perfect.”
The Council is using the operation to target specific streams where they know land-use changes are going to occur ” “everything from different restoration projects we have going into development, to fuel treatment. It’s pretty broad.”
So far the Council has conducted four training days and two monitoring days.
“Its been going really well,” Christman said. “The volunteers are just really enthusiastic about this program, which is great because it makes us confident about keeping it going. It’s a program we can maintain as long as we have the volunteers.”