The Tale of Two Creeks: The Effects of Restoration on Water Quality in Oakland, California

Eliott Ahumada, Miguel Avila, Humberto Bracho, Alvaro P. Casanova, Osbaldo Cruz, Ana Gonzalez, Yvonne Leon, Edgar Sanchez, and Andrea Torres

In 2007, the Surface Water Ambient Monitoring Program (SWAMP) assessed the impact of trash on water quality in the Peralta Creek which is located in the Fruitvale district of Oakland, CA. This 2011 follow-up study will take further steps in evaluating the physical and biological impacts of pollution and human development on Peralta Creek and in the San Leandro Bay, where the Creek empties into the larger San Francisco Bay estuary. This study will utilize two forms of biological assessment in order to determine the level of water quality and ecosystem health of Peralta Creek and San Leandro Bay in Oakland, California. A Rapid Bioassesment Protocal (RBP) will be used as the method of biological assessment for Peralta Creek. RBP uses a biotic index of benthic macroinvertebrates to provide a measure of a water body�s health. Larval trematodes found in two mud snails (Ilynassa obsoleta and Cerithidea californica) will be used to evaluate the health of the San Leandro Bay. Due to the trematodes complex life cycle, the measure of trematode diversity and richness in host species serves as an indicator of estuarine health (Huspeni 2005). Research teams have completed the assessment of one section of Peralta Creek, located at 2465 34th Avenue, Oakland, CA 94601. Preliminary results show a moderately healthy creek. This is possibly due to this section of the creek being pumped up to the surface from culverts impacting the macroinvertebrate�s life cycle. Another contributing factor to creek health is the amount of organic debris found in the creek which inhibits the flow and oxygenation of the water, allowing for more tolerant aquatic insects to persist. Further investigation is being conducted to fully assess the Peralta Creek watershed; from the preliminary results one can surmise that runoff from the watershed that leads into the bay may reflect a moderately healthy San Leandro Bay.

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