Erie County Conservation District

Middle School Stream Study Data

The Project

"So, tell me about the stream near your school."

Silence. A few comments about the fishing, perhaps the amount of trash. Many students involved in this stream study project were uncertain of the name of their stream. With the help of a Coastal Zone Management Grant and the support and enthusiasm of numerous teaching staff and local students, things are beginning to change.

Through our work here at the District with many of the local teachers, we discovered a desire to connect students with their watersheds and help them develop an understanding of their interconnectedness with nature. However, materials and training were necessary to help this goal along. This ongoing stream study project connects local schools with their neighborhood stream. Students visit the streams twice in their school year, once in the fall and again in the spring. Both visits involve testing the water for levels of phosphates, nitrates, pH, dissolved oxygen, and turbidity. In addition, students search for and tally macroinvertebrates and other living things within the stream.

Collecting Data

In between visits, students may be working on other connection projects within their schools, such as learning the source of their schools' tap water and testing it within the school, or raising brook trout within their school for release in their approved stream in the spring.

Students using a kicknet to collect macroinvertebrates

The streams addressed in this study vary in their location throughout Erie County. Several of our rural streams are adjacent to vineyards, a nursery, other farming ventures and residential areas. These streams are vulnerable to pesticide and fertilizer run-off, along with landscaping practices that can increase erosion and sedimentation. The urban streams, traveling through the city of Erie, are open to a different set of pollutants, such as trash, stormwater run-off, and the dumping of toxic substances. Through this website, students and the community can view the data and compare stream study results.

Our natural resources depend upon future generations understanding the relationship between water quality and humans’ affect upon it, pollution control, and having a willingness to make a positive difference.

The Data

This map outlines the subwatersheds that the students are studying within Erie County, PA.

  • Erie County Sub-Watershed map (438.59 KB)

    • Perseus House Charter School - McDannell Run
    • Fall 2012 (205.39 KB)
    • Erie Day School - Scott Run (coming fall 2014)
    • Clark Elementary School - Four Mile Creek

      Clark students learning to identify benthic macroinvertebrates

    • Fall 2014 (205.04 KB)
    • Spring 2015 (213.46 KB)