Well, it has been a few weeks since I’ve posted about our creek work. As a brief reminder, my mentor teacher and I, along with Blue River Watershed Association staff and volunteers took our 8th grade earth science class out to do some water quality testing on the stream behind our school. As you may recall, it was a very cold day, but mutiny was averted through student empowerment (I let them choose where they wanted to be cold!).
As part of the T.R.U.E. Blue water quality program, the students collected data on a number of water quality parameters (e.g. dissolved oxygen, temperature, pH, total phosphates, total nitrates, fecal coliforms, etc.), then evaluated those data using a water quality index previously developed by Brown et al. (1970) for the National Sanitation Federation (I’m still trying to get my hands on the original paper). You can get our data here. We are site 12, Muncie Creek @ N. 72nd & Georgia Ave. , KCK (Eisenhower Middle School). From what I understand, this study developed ranges of environmental quality expectations by polling over 125 environmental scientists.
After comparing our data to this water quality index, we discovered two things: (1) our creek is low average to bad in terms of overall environmental quality; and (2) our creek had its greatest impairments for fecal coliforms, total phosphates, and turbidity (though we believe the turbidity ranking to be off due to sampling errors).
It was a ton of effort and information to cram all of this stuff into 4 days of class time. I hope we are able to get the students out again, but I am not convinced we will have time given all of the other scheduling requirements that must be met before the end of the term.