Title

Yakima WATERS Project: Pond Ecosystem Health Selah, WA

Document Type

Oral Presentation

Location

SURC Ballroom A

Start Date

17-5-2012

End Date

17-5-2012

Abstract

Wenas Creek runs through a large portion of Selah, Washington, providing hydration to an otherwise arid region. The use of water by humans returns water to the ecosystem with added nutrients, in some cases at levels detrimental to the environment. Riparian zones and ponds along Wenas Creek are the few places within the watershed where aquatic life is supported. Water mixing in conjunction with aquatic life processes cycle natural and anthropogenic nutrients through the ecosystem. The objective of this study was to assess pond ecosystem health by documenting living and non-living members. Data was collected at Wenas Creek and a nearby pond in fall, winter, and spring. Measurements of dissolved oxygen, conductivity, temperature, and nitrate were taken. Water quality was determined to be fairly good for most organisms with average dissolved oxygen being slightly low, at about 4.1 parts per million (ppm), and average conductivity being slightly high at roughly 538 micro-Siemens per centimeter. Crude measurements of nitrate concentrations using Hach kits suggest that levels were about 3 ppm. An inventory of invertebrates was taken. Species ranged from pollution tolerant to pollution sensitive. Particular attention was paid to gilled snails as they are an invertebrate species found in excellent quality water due to their high sensitivity to pollution. Amphibians which are known to be reliable ecological indicators were caught, described, and released. Several pacific tree frogs were found all of which appeared to be in good physical health except one found missing a limb. Algae were present in limited extent.

Poster Number

36

Faculty Mentor(s)

Carey Gazis

Additional Mentoring Department

Other

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May 17th, 11:15 AM May 17th, 1:44 PM

Yakima WATERS Project: Pond Ecosystem Health Selah, WA

SURC Ballroom A

Wenas Creek runs through a large portion of Selah, Washington, providing hydration to an otherwise arid region. The use of water by humans returns water to the ecosystem with added nutrients, in some cases at levels detrimental to the environment. Riparian zones and ponds along Wenas Creek are the few places within the watershed where aquatic life is supported. Water mixing in conjunction with aquatic life processes cycle natural and anthropogenic nutrients through the ecosystem. The objective of this study was to assess pond ecosystem health by documenting living and non-living members. Data was collected at Wenas Creek and a nearby pond in fall, winter, and spring. Measurements of dissolved oxygen, conductivity, temperature, and nitrate were taken. Water quality was determined to be fairly good for most organisms with average dissolved oxygen being slightly low, at about 4.1 parts per million (ppm), and average conductivity being slightly high at roughly 538 micro-Siemens per centimeter. Crude measurements of nitrate concentrations using Hach kits suggest that levels were about 3 ppm. An inventory of invertebrates was taken. Species ranged from pollution tolerant to pollution sensitive. Particular attention was paid to gilled snails as they are an invertebrate species found in excellent quality water due to their high sensitivity to pollution. Amphibians which are known to be reliable ecological indicators were caught, described, and released. Several pacific tree frogs were found all of which appeared to be in good physical health except one found missing a limb. Algae were present in limited extent.