Volunteers help survey Whychus Creek

Aug 22, 2012
Volunteers were recently out at the Land Trust's Camp Polk Meadow Preserve and Rimrock Ranch to sample macroinvertebrates in Whychus Creek.

Volunteers were busy at Camp Polk Meadow Preserve and Rimrock Ranch last Saturday sampling macroinvertebrates in Whychus Creek. The Upper Deschutes Watershed Council and the Xerces Society organized the survey to monitor the health of Whychus Creek.

Macroinvertebrates are the backbone-less organisms that live in freshwater. Dragonfly nymphs, worms, snails, beetles, mayflies, caddisflies, and small crustaceans are all common macroinvertebrates. They are useful indicators of the health or condition of a creek since they are sensitive to pollution or disturbance.

Fifteen volunteers and five Watershed Council and Xerces staff collected samples at eleven sites along 25 miles of Whychus Creek including Camp Polk Meadow Preserve and Rimrock Ranch. At Camp Polk, volunteers sampled macroinvertebrates in two stretches in the newly restored Whychus Creek channel. This data will be compared to the macroinvertebrate community found in previous years in the old, straightened channel. Crews at Rimrock Ranch saw a rattlesnake and giant stoneflies and caddisflies were abundant.

Thanks to all those who helped with the sampling! We'll let you know the full results when they're out in December.