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Science Students Conduct Waterway Health Assessments

24.2.2016

On Monday, 22 February St John’s Year Nine students visited three sites along the Oxley Creek to conduct a waterway health assessment. A waterway health assessment involves three kinds of data collection. The first kind is simply a visual assessment of habitat and stream condition, this is where the students looked at obvious signs of human impact and the proportion of native verses non-native species. The second kind of data collection involves collecting aquatic macro invertebrates, identifying them, and then using their results to work out a signal two grade. This is a measure of waterway health that can be calculated based upon the macro invertebrates that inhabit in the waterway. The third kind of data collection is the collection of physico-chemical data, which includes the students measuring turbidity, phosphate concentration, nitrate concentration, light intensity and a variety of other non-biological factors.

Now that the students have collected the necessary data, they have been given the task of writing a scientific report in which they compare and contrast the health of the three sites they visited. The students expect the upper-catchment site to be in better overall condition than the other two sites, due to the fact that human impact increases as you move further downstream. Now it’s up to our Year Nine science students to decide whether their data supports this theory.

Thank you to Mr Parker for providing the students with the opportunity to learn how to assess the health of our waterways in a fun environment. All students had a truly enjoyable day!



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