Camp Tecumseh recently signed on to be a volunteer organization for Hoosier Riverwatch, which is a state-sponsored water quality monitoring initiative. The Outdoor Education staff is heading up the efforts of recording data taken from our very own Ghost Creek that a lot of guests hike to during their stay.
To determine the quality of the water there are three main areas that we have to test:
1) Habitat – flow, depth, land use, shape, erosion, substrate
2) Chemical – temperature, pH, turbidity, dissolved oxygen, nitrate, phosphate.
3) Biological – Benthic Macroinvertebrates (animals you can see that don’t have a back bone and live on the bottom).
Our results are then posted on a web database that can be viewed by anyone and provide information for governmental agencies that are working to protect Indiana’s rivers and streams.
The overall rating for Ghost Creek (which is in the Tippecanoe watershed) was very good, which was encouraging to see as camp has invested some money and effort into improving the water quality in the lake and consequently Ghost Creek.
Probably the most fun part for the students…and us, is when we look for as many macroinvertebrates as we can. Finding these little critters is in itself a good indicator of water quality as many show little tolerance for pollution and findings also reflect the stability and diversity of the larger aquatic food web. Students from Crawfordsville’s Hoover Elementary helped us with this portion and we were able to tie it in with their Earthship Journey program.