Hands-on Citizen Science and Habitat Restoration Opportunities
Storm water runoff from 48 square miles of surrounding watershed lands flow into Stevens and Permanente Creeks as they make their way down from the Santa Cruz Mountains, through the cities of Cupertino, Mountain View, Los Altos, and Sunnyvale, and on into San Francisco Bay. Wherever we live, work, and play, we are in a watershed and are connected ecologically to our local creeks. We provide volunteers of all ages with fun opportunities to learn about neighborhood creek habitats and contribute to healthy watersheds through hands-on projects:
- Water quality monitoring — Volunteers conduct monthly water quality monitoring at nine sites on the two creeks to determine dissolved oxygen levels, pH, and other factors indicative of creek health.
- Biomonitoring using creek bugs — The insect larvae, worms, and snails which inhabit the bottom of our creeks are not only an essential part of the aquatic ecosystem, they are an important indicator of creek health. Some of these benthic macroinvertebrates, or “bugs”, are known to be pollution tolerant while others are quite sensitive. The bugs we find at a site can tell us if we have a pollution problem. Volunteers collect samples of creek bugs each fall and then meet periodically throughout the year at what is known as the “bug club” to sort and identify the bugs.
- Habitat restoration — Many important habitat areas near our local creeks have been harmed by the invasion of nonnative plants. Volunteers work with us to remove these nonnative plants and replace them with natives that provide better food and shelter for local wildlife.
- General outreach and education — Hundreds of students take part in our hands-on watershed ecology fieldtrips each year. We also invite all community members to learn more about their watershed by joining us for themed nature walks and lectures. From time to time we schedule special events such as creek cleanups.
Would you like to receive email notifications of Stevens & Permanente volunteer opportunities and activities? Please contact Joanne McFarlin at joannem*acterra.org.