Stream Health Assessment of Courtland Creek, Oakland, California

Kai White, Allan Ahumada, Cristian Lopez, Noe Varella, Elizabeth Torres, Diego Quintero, and Humberto Bracho

An initial benthic macroinvertebrate and water quality survey was conducted on Courtland Creek, Oakland, California. Samples were collected from 3 sites between Brookdale avenue and 45th street at accessible sections of this largely culverted stream. To collect macroinvertebrates, brass frame kick nets with 500 micron netting were placed in the stream and substrate was disturbed for 1 minute in front of the opening of the kick net. The kick net was rinsed into a tub and invertebrates were identified and sorted on site. Organisms were ranked using a biotic index and average index was determined for each site. The biotic index of each site ranked the stream overall as poor. Dissolved oxygen and Nitrates were measured using wet chemistry procedures. Dissolved oxygen levels in the stream are sufficient for invertebrates but low for a stream at 4-5ppm. Nitrate levels were significantly high concentrations of 40 ppm for all sites. Nitrate levels recorded could reflect the presence of animal waste in the water or agricultural fertilizer from private homes and gardens that adjoin the stream. The presence of animal waste was observed at all sites in the study area and may have caused the levels of nitrates observed. Nitrate levels are not at toxic levels but at this level affect immunological functions of invertebrates. Results indicate that the habitat and water quality of Courtland Creek is in poor condition and restoration is recommended in order to increase the ecological health or this urban watershed.

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