NW Marine Life

Combining Bugs And Chemistry In Soos Creek Stormwater Study

Learn More About Bugs And Chemistry

When one hears ‘stormwater’ for the first time, what comes to mind is probably a body of water that got its name in the history book. Perhaps because an evening storm was directed into it by some magician. Myth, is it not? Well, you are not so wrong. In Puget Sound, a town near Kent, a stream courses itself through a variety of habitats, residential communities, playgrounds, parks.

But ironically, it only gets occasional visibility. Why? It’s intently stuck within a compact thicket of bushes, shrubs and trees. On sight, what you would say is: ‘’Oh! How beautiful’’. But really, there is more to it.

Over the years, biologists have sent more and more salmonid smolts to Pungent Sound hoping that they would find the elements that contaminate the moving water bodies; particularly the coho and chinook.

The results from these studies are supposed to help direct the limited resources available to reducing Puget Sound’s most threatening environmental trouble. This being stormwater pollution.

Help From Bugs

Mud-dwelling bugs that are found in any given water bodies provide pointers to how healthy or otherwise that body of water is. Cleo Neculae, the cleanup lead with the department of Ecology, Bellevue says: ‘’if you have more of those tolerant bugs, you probably have more pollution, versus the types of bugs you would find in much healthier environments’’.

Knowing what bugs are at Soos Creek gives a clue on how to tackle the overwhelming stream water pollution that troubles the area. In this case, it was found out that the bug population pointed at: flashy flows that come by during stormwater events, destruction of houses, loads of sediments as the factors responsible for the low mud-dwelling bugs in the watershed.

What To Do?

Nothing much. Just a little bit of enhanced enlightenment to what is already available to us. Funny right? One thing has been missing so far. And that is the integration of chemical and physical parameters with the pre-existing biology measures.

The effect of this will ensure that projects that can address both stormwater and aquatic health are undertaken. How innovative, right?

Well then, there’s no point wasting time again. Wouldn’t you say? Work began already. Since 2012, colleagues at tribal and government agencies have ensured the simulation of flow and transport of sediment in Soos Creek.

Then, solemnise those conditions with the available mud-dwelling bugs, thereby, increasing the scores of bugs per point in the water bodies. This, in essence, ensures that the waterbody serves as another salmon – for man, and other species that might be conserved.

So Far So Good

The work that has been on in the physical spaces is not just about it. Emily Howe, another colleague is operating from the digital realm alongside other colleagues. A software has been created by Howe. And it is named The Stormwater Heatmap. This software helps in the identification of pollution loads.

In order to identify the hotspots for contaminants. Sounds great. Despite Howe’s hardwork and her recognition of the hard work, she can only hope that the effort results in the recovery of freshwater ecosystems and marine life all through Puget Sound.

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