On August 9th a stream team made a field
visit to Wolverton Creek, a tributary to the Van Duzen River
near Hydesville, CA. The purpose of the field visit was to look for
local classroom monitoring project sites and to discuss how the community
can participate in an assessment of the Wolverton Creek watershed. Working
with the local landowner, Claude Young, the team consisted of the following
Past History: Over the past decade, Jim Rizza has developed a working relationship with Claude Young whose property is located in Hydesville. His classes planted redwoods for soil stabilization. In 2003-2004, science teacher Ed Brenneman working with Humboldt State University using the Adopt a Watershed model participated in a classroom monitoring project at Wolverton Creek studying macroinvertebrates and investigating the health of the creek. The group in 2003-2004 found a very healthy stream system with lamphrey eels and good water quality. (See report)
Friends of the Van Duzen: For the past 5 years,
Friends of the Van Duzen has been conducting water monitoring in the
Van Duzen River Basin. Our efforts have concentrated on turbidity samples
at sites along the main stem of the Van Duzen and in the following tributaries:
Yager, Cummings, Hely, Fox Creek, and Grizzly Creek.
Field study observations August 9th:
The team crossed the creek on Claude's property and headed
upstream. Many of the Redwood saplings planted by Jim Rizza's class
had sufficiently grown and he and Chauncey removed some of the plastic
At one location, Steve Cannata pointed out a stream habitat feature called an undercut bank. Undercut banks are similar to a crevice that extends into the stream bank that fish can use to escape from predators or as protective resting areas. Under cut banks are common features in a healthy stream and require root masses from riparian trees and other vegetation to maintain stream bank cohesion and stability. during high winter flows.
The team returned toward the house and walked across the field further downstream to another area for observation. Here we found larger amounts of fine sediment, tires which had been buried in fine sediment, and Chauncey found bracken ferns which can be an indication of poorer soils.
Reference Creek or not a Reference Creek : All creeks previously studied by classrooms and Friends of the Van Duzen have been impaired systems due to high levels of fine sediment and high turbidity. It was the intention of this study to find a reference creek, and to be able to do comparative analysis with other similar systems in the Van Duzen River Basin.
Recent timber harvest activity up stream during 2004-2005 may have had some impact on Wolverton Creek. We will try to have Ed Brenneman make a return trip to compare 2003 with the present.
FUTURE: We would like to make a coordinated effort
to monitor the creek for turbidity, temperature, dissolved oxygen, ph,
and sediment. We would like to conduct fish and amphibian studies to
determine if this is still a salmonid bearing creek. We would like to
conduct a macroinvertebrate analysis in two sections of the creek for
key indicators of the health of the stream. We would like to analyze
sediment samples and sizes of rocks.
Two staff plates will be installed to measure the water flow. Access to designated sites may be cut off following winter rains. The lower staff plate will be visible from the field. It is our intention that follow up studies could be done in Spring.
Jim Rizza will schedule a series of dates for field studies between September and January. He will be retiring in January and passing the project off to his successor. Sal Steinberg and Chauncey Willburn will coordinate a set of weekend dates for analysis with other volunteers from the community.