Volunteers and staff with San Diego Coastkeeper gathered along Rose Creek on Saturday morning (June 28) to gather insect specimens from the creek's water.
"Basically, we're collecting a sample of bugs that live in the water, as well as doing an assessment of habitat quality — is there any sort of habitat degradation going on, or is it intact?" explained Coastkeeper's Travis Pritchard.
The group has been monitoring water quality for ten years in different water bodies throughout the county, but Coastkeeper hopes that adding the insect counts will contribute to a deeper understanding of the overall health of our water.
"One of the challenges with water sampling is it's very snapshotty," Pritchard continued. "You're only measuring the water quality right then — you could have some sort of spill two weeks ago that had passed through that you're not capturing.
"What we're doing now is looking at the bugs that live in the stream, comparing them to what should be there. We can then give an assessment as to the water body's overall ecological health — if we find only bugs that are tolerant of pollution, we know that there's a pollution problem here."
After hiking a short distance to a creek access point, the group donned waders and jumped in. The survey, expected to take up to eight hours, measured a 150-meter length of the stream. Habitat measures were to be taken every 7.5 meters, with bug samples collected every 15 meters. Rose Creek is one of three locations Coastkeeper will study and release results on later this year.
"We wanted to do four locations," said Pritchard, "but we ended up doing three because we couldn't find a South County site that has access and water flowing due to the drought."