Grab the secci disk and let’s head to the creek! On Day 2 of Walk on the Wild Side 4-H Camp, we learned about the 3 categories of water quality: (1) Physical, (2) Biological, and (3) Chemical. We test #1 and #2 while canoeing on the water. The 3rd (Chemical properties) should be done on a stable surface wearing appropriate science clothing.
Did you know that the depth, temperature and speed of water flow can affect the water quality? We took velocity and depth measurements on the creek and observed that water was of higher clarity, faster velocity, and cooler temperature where it was deeper.
Above: Taking velocity measurements using stopwatch, measuring tape, and ping pong ball
Did you know that bugs and plants can tell you about the quality of the water? Youth learned that some bugs and plants cannot live in polluted waters, so the presence of these “sensitive” species can indicate “good” quality water! We found quite a diversity of plants and animals, but also saw where invasive species (ie: potato vines) were taking over.
Did you know that water color doesn’t always tell you the whole story of the water quality? Our experimental creek was lined with Cypress Trees, which produce a tannin compound that turns the water a dark yellow (“Ewww gross!”) color. However, we found through preliminary water quality testing that the water quality is not as bad as it appeared! (And tannins can be good for you! But please don’t drink the creek water… )
LakeWatch- Get involved!
To learn more about LakeWatch, Florida’s water quality monitoring program, go to:
Or to learn about the basics of water quality management, go to: http://lakewatch.ifas.ufl.edu/pubs/circulars/101_ABCs_2004Red.pdf