MHHS students help test Dodd Creek waters
From Staff Reports Baxter Bulletin USA TODAY NETWORK
Friends of the North Fork and White Rivers recently teamed up with Mountain Home High School students to monitor the water quality of Dodd Creek. The two groups met up on Nov. 16 on the campus of Arkansas State University-Mountain Home for the “Stream Team” water testing of the creek that flows through the campus.
Biology instructor Tom Ethridge supervised a group of 22 MHHS Advanced Placement Environmental Science students that participated in the quarterly water quality monitoring program. “The goal of the stream monitoring is to involve students in obtaining water quality measurements as well as describing the creek life, habitat and streamside characteristics that support a stream ecosystem,” said Steve Blumreich, president of the Friends of the North Fork and White Rivers.
The team focused on the stretch of Dodd Creek that lies between ASU-MH and the Donald W. Reynolds Library. Dodd Creek, along with Hicks Creek and Big Creek, drain approximately 90 percent of Mountain Home’s storm water. “Dodd Creek is a significant Mountain Home urban creek,” Blumreich said.
Water from Dodd and Hicks creeks joins Big Creek south of Mountain Home and then flows into the White River. Students participating in the event measured water quality by testing for pH levels, temperature, turbidity, phosphorous and nitrates. Team members also collected minnows, larvae and bugs that by their varying tolerance, reflect the health of the stream. Walking along the creek, students documented various features like erosion issues and discussed alternative streamside management options. The goal of the water testing is to create a baseline of stream conditions that can be used to monitor the health of the creek over time.
“It’s an example of ways concerned and involved citizens learn to protect our water through education, advocacy and stewardship,” Blumreich said.