Silver Creek CREW
May 12, 2017, was a bright and sunny day for the third year of the Silver Creek Student Monitoring Education outreach effort at the Silver Creek Adaptive Management Pilot Project. Twenty students from Bayport and Oneida High Schools participated in this year’s C.R.E.W. (Committed to Restoring and Enhancing our Waters) event. Oneida High School teacher Greg Holder, and Bayport High School teacher Ryan Weed selected students for this year's C.R.E.W. based on environmental essays they wrote. Three stations were set up to inform the students about stream invertebrates, water quality testing, and drone and GIS work in the watershed.
Jim Snitgen, Water Resources Supervisor for the Oneida Nation, described dozens of species he netted out of Silver Creek at the “Invertebrate Communities” station. The on-going study of stream species will show if Best Management Practices (BMPs) installed on agricultural fields helps to improve stream health. The photo showing Jim and the students was taken from a camera mounted on the Oneida Nation’s Drone.
At the “Water Quality Assessment” station, Erin Houghton, NEW Water Watershed Specialist, encouraged students to collect various water samples from Silver Creek and run field analyses for turbidity and phosphorus. They also measured and recorded stream data such as temperature, flow rate, dissolved oxygen, and specific conductance.
The "Drone and GIS" station was staffed by Oneida Nation Natural Resource Technicians Michael Arce and Tony Kuchma. Here the students learned about flying drones as well as training and pilot licensing requirements. Jeff Smudde, Watershed Programs Manager for NEW Water, demonstrated how G.I.S. and drone technology are used to track the progress of the project and the BMP installation practices.
After rotaing through the three stations, the full group walked a recently completed Grassed Waterway and observed the importance of this tupe of BMP that helps prevent sediments and nutrients, such as phosphorus, from draining into streams and rivers. The day concluded with lunch at NWTC and a fun quiz tosee that everyone learned at this year's C.R.E.W. day at Silver Creek.