Water Monitoring Team In Place
This past month in an effort to determine the quality of the water running through Blue Heron and the impact we are having as we continue our stewardship of the Preserve, a group of volunteers met recently to begin water sampling. Led by Mike Meyer from the Chattahoochee Riverkeeper, Volunteer Cindy Mayer (not shown), Summer Intern Sydney Chan and Blue Heron Staff Member Kevin McCauley were given water sampling training. This is all part of the Riverkeeper's Neighborhood Water Watch program, designed to put the power in the hands of citizens to improve water quality in urban streams. Volunteers are given training following EPA approved sampling methods. Samples are sent to the Chattahoochee Riverkeeper for analysis, which focuses on bacteria levels and other indicators of water quality. Results are posted on their web site. If abnormal readings are discovered, further testing and on site investigation is performed to determine the cause and how to fix it.
Samples are taken on a regular basis at 4 sites in the Preserve along both Nancy and Mill Creeks. We'd love to have you join us and be a part of the citizen science team at Blue Heron. Interested? Contact Kevin McCauley at: email@example.com.
May 31st Workday: Water Monitoring
We want to extend a big THANK YOU to the group who met on May 31st at Emma Wetlands to begin monitoring as part of the enhancement work we are doing there.
We installed a ground water well to measure the depth of the ground water which is an indicator of wetland habitat as well as took a cross section of Mill Creek to assess it's health.
Pictured below from left to right are Nancy Jones, Kevin Middlebrooks (CH2MHill), Sydney Chan (Summer Intern), Dr. Elizabeth Sudduth (Biology Professor Georgia Gwinnett College), Maura Dudley (UGA PhD Candidate), Kevin McCauley, David Bell (CH2MHill) and Friend, Peter McCauley (Volunteer), and Cindy Mayer - not shown.
Blue Heron Totem
We have a new piece of art especially built for the Preserve and installed at the Community Garden! On your next visit stop by and see this beautiful sculptural piece, donated by local artist, Sally Eppstein.
Also, Sally has just taken on a new role with us and is our volunteer Art Director. She will be trying to bring more outside art installations to the Preserve and will help to coordinate shows in the Gallery.
Welcome Sally, and thank you for your gift!
Beaver Enhancement of our Waterways
In anticipation of doing some water enhancement on our blue way through the Preserve, a team of 11 volunteers, professionals, students, biologists and professors have been studying the work of beaver engineering. Beavers impound and channel water in beneficial ways for the environment and wildlife creating wetland ponds that support a huge variety of animal and bird life.
We have been studying beaver projects in California and the Pacific Northwest where scientists and environmentalists are interested in beaver work for the benefit of endangered fish species such as salmon. Scientists have found beavers can be encouraged to build dams if support structures are installed in wet areas. The height of the water level can be controlled with de-watering structures to ease flooding in populated areas. Even the use of tape recorders playing the sound of running water can be used to encourage them to build dams in beneficial areas.
Unfortunately, in the southeast beavers are a much maligned species and are frequently trapped and killed. But what we are finding is that there are wonderful benefits to working with beavers, it just takes some study and understanding.
In Marinez, California, Heidi Perryman successfully rallied the community to save a family of beavers. She started a non-profit called "Worth A Dam" to educate the public. For 7 years this organization has been focused on learning about beavers and sharing their observations.