Last month, our partners at the Upper Deschutes Watershed Council and the Xerces Society surveyed macroinvertebrates in Whychus Creek with the help of many volunteers.
They visited many sites along the creek including our Camp Polk Meadow Preserve. The goal: to check in on the condition of the creek by collecting the water bugs that are such excellent indicators of stream health.
Although official results from the study won't be ready until January, aquatic scientist Celeste Mazzacano noticed changes from 2012. Last year she noted species at Camp Polk Meadow Preserve that like flowing waters, such as black fly larvae and hydra. This year she saw species that thrive in still waters, like deerfly larva, toad bugs, and pond snails.
Land Trust executive director, Brad Chalfant took this shift in aquatic life as a possible sign of good things to come. "While we don't yet have salmon at Camp Polk Meadow, these slow-water bugs show the progress we are making to improve fish habitat."
Slowing water flow was one goal of the Back to Home Waters initiative to restore Whychus Creek in Camp Polk Meadow. Prime spawning habitat includes areas of still water where small fry can escape strong currents. The increase in slow-water macroinvertebrates may be an early sign that the meandering of Whychus Creek has helped to slow water and improve spawning grounds for fish.
Stay tuned for official results from the study, which will be released in January.