Water Quality and Crayfish Studies on the Columbia River
The Adventure: Columbia River team is participating in studies run by the National Park Service program The River Mile. We will be taking water quality data, plant and animal inventories, and adding to the Crayfish Study in The River Mile database. This is a program you can participate in, too!
Clean water is essential to life on Earth. Water quality monitoring on a regular basis is important for the understanding of watershed health. You will need to collect enough data over time so you can tell what is likely to be normal results so you can tell when there are changes. The team will be taking samples of dissolved oxygen, Nitrates, phosphates temperature, pH, and turbidity above and below major tributaries.
Plant and Animal Inventories
Plant and animal inventories help us understand the relationships among components of the site, ecosystem and watershed. The best way to count animals is several times a year in the same location. However, by taking careful notes and locations the team can add information to a growing database of information.
The Pacific Northwest is inhabited by only five native species of crayfish. Washington State has only one native crayfish, the signal crayfish (Pacifasticus leniusculus). However, the conservation status of the signal crayfish within the Pacific Northwest is largely unknown. Major reasons for crayfish decline include habitat loss, invasive crayfish that increase competition and spread disease, and degraded water quality (Larson and Olden 2011). This is an ongoing project with data contributed by teachers, students, our RowboatClassoom.org expedition team, and participating scientists. The goal is to learn about species distribution in the Columbia River Watershed.