Antioch Earth Team headed back out to the Upper Sand Creek Basin to learn a new skill: plant monitoring. On this particular Tuesday, the team focused on identifying, counting, and monitoring Coast Live Oaks that were planted in the basin by volunteers years ago.
Baseline data was compiled from existing documents showing general locations of volunteer planting sites and Coast Live Oak estimated numbers. Interns used a satellite image of the basin to create a map and then developed walking routes of those location to focus their time on.
Split into three groups, the Antioch High students were able to cover almost all of the basin in their 2 hour after school meeting. The young researchers found that many of the oaks were not present or were mislabeled. Of the oaks that they found, some were incredibly while established, others were healthy, and some appeared to be in poor health.
Interns will continue to monitor and map Coast Live Oaks in the basin to master the process of native plant monitoring. Hopefully, their efforts will expand to other native species present in the basin, including things like coyote brush.
The Antioch Earth Team after school meeting concluded with a beautiful sunset over Mt. Diablo to wrap up a fun afternoon of exploring nature!
Antioch High Earth Team suited up in ponchos to do restoration and water testing in the rain. The group of environmental leaders from Antioch High School is focusing their effort this semester on restoration in the Upper Sand Creek Basin. They spent this particular Saturday testing water at various locations along Sand Creek.
The water in this basin flows in from Sand Creek as well as from South Antioch storm drains. The youths hypothesized that the storm water and urban runoff flowing into the basin would have very different water chemistry than the stream flowing out of the basin.
The students lead the day’s research project on water chemistry throughout the basin, finding surprisingly promising readings for metrics like pH and temperature.
Interns plan to return to the basin many more times throughout the semester to repeat their water testing procedures and to collect enough data to hopefully draw some conclusions about the function of the basin at purifying water beyond protecting residents from flooding in extreme rain events.
Starting on Saturday, November 4th, Antioch interns will begin participating in adaptive management efforts at the Upper Sand Creek Basin in Antioch. The flood basin is managed by the Flood Control District, and provides wetland habitat to a wide variety of species. The volunteer-planted willows and native plans provide natural water filtration, improving the quality of urban runoff as it flows from South Antioch storm drains into Marsh Creek. It also offers protection to surrounding communities in the event of heavy rains, acting as a flood basin to slow water flow through Sand Creek and Marsh Creek.
In the coming months, Antioch Interns will work on a variety of projects in the basin. One project will focus on water quality in the basin. Interns will test “urban drool” as it runs off from nearby communities into the basin. They will also test water originating from the natural creek that feeds the basin. Finally, interns will test the water as it exits the basin into Marsh Creek. This investigation will hopefully show to what extent urban runoff is contaminated and how effectively the basin improves water quality.
Another project that the interns will work on will be native plant maintenance and mapping. Many native plants thrived naturally in the basin, and others were planted by volunteers. However, other vegetation has overtaken many of these plants, so Antioch interns will work on freeing them and documenting their establishment and success throughout the basin.