Participating Schools: Casa Grande

Lead Teachers: Todd Adams, Sten Mander,

Previous Participants: John Shribbs

Participating Classes: Earth Science & AP Environmental Science

Overview: The essential questions we seek to answer are: 1) What are the physical habitat and water quality conditions of the tributary streams of the Petaluma River? 2) What types of restoration efforts and pollution control efforts will make the greatest impacts on the health of these streams? A keystone of the project is use of macro-invertebrates to analyze the health of rivers and streams in the Petaluma Watershed.

Curriculum Highlights

Key Learning Objectives:

Students will learn...
- what a watershed is and how streams are affected by human activities in the watershed. 
- how physical factors can affect salmonids and other aquatic life. 
- how the life histories of macroinvertebrates can be used as proxies to assess stream conditions (i.e. temperature, oxygen levels, spawning substrate, riparian cover) and identify excessive inputs of pollutants (i.e. sediments, nutrients, pesticides). 

Students will be able to: 
- to assess the physical habitat of a stream by evaluating riparian cover, stream bank erosion, water flow, spawning substrate, pool frequency and depth, and water flow.
- identify which stream a sample of BMIs was collected from based on the stream's physical habitat and watershed characteristics. 
- make recommendations for enhancing the physical habitat and reducing pollutants that affect a particular stream's health.

Fieldwork Activities

1. Students will conduct a physical habitat assessment of Adobe Creek. 
2. Students will collect and analyze water samples for temperature, pH, dissolved oxygen, nitrates, turbidity, and pathogens at 7 stream sites. Students will also assist with collecting BMIs. 
3. Students will collect first flush storm drain samples at various sites in Petaluma for analysis of temperature, dissolved oxygen, nitrates, turbidity, and pathogens. (AP Environmental Science only)

CA Curriculum Standards Addressed

HS-ESS2-5: Plan and conduct an investigation of the properties of water and its effects on Earth materials and surface processes.


Student Work

This is a presentation by students Vanessa Giorgi, Kiley Cramer, and Camille Lee in Todd Adam's AP Environmental Science Class at Casa Grande High School. It was presented at the 2017 Watershed Classroom Student Showcase. 

This is a presentation by students in Todd Adam's AP Environmental Science Class at Casa Grande High School. It was presented at the 2016 Watershed Classroom Showcase.