Sierra Streams Institute coordinates citizen scientists to regularly monitor the ecological health of Deer Creek, our home watershed and Bear River. We do this by collecting data on a variety of watershed elements, each of which provides important information about the streams’ water quality and ecological condition. Collecting these data regularly over time at established monitoring sites in the watershed allows us to gauge changes, evaluate restoration efforts, and locate sources of problems.
Human-caused impacts to the watershed are many and serious: discharge from wastewater treatment plants; development of homes, yards and streets along the creek contribute to erosion and discharge of household chemicals and fertilizers; grazing and agriculture contribute pollution and cause harm to riparian vegetation; dams and diversions interrupt the natural flow of the streams and degrade water quality and habitat complexity. Careful and regular monitoring allows us to identify these impacts. Minimizing them requires the adoption of “creek-friendly” practices by all: the casual visitor whether on foot, bike, horse or in a car, homeowners and developers; water management agencies; city, county, and state stakeholder agencies; farmers and ranchers; businesses; and everyone who lives, works, and plays in the watershed.