Benthic Health Assessment of Cooks Creek,
December 2018 – August 2020
The CCWA performed a benthic invertebrate assessment of 5 locations within the Watershed between December 2018 and August 2020 as part of our stream monitoring program. Samples were taken during each of the four seasons at five sites; two locations in Springtown (one on the mainstem and one in Silver Creek), one at the Fuller Preserve on Slifer Valley Road, one in Pleasant Valley, and one at Red Bridge Road in Durham, for a total of 20 samples.
A benthic community is an area where a group of aquatic organisms live and interact with each other at the floor of any water setting – including oceans, estuaries, lakes, rivers, ponds, and streams. It encompasses the lowest layer of water, the uppermost layers of bottom ground, and all the organisms that live there.
This work was completely volunteer, directed and largely performed by our President, Scott Douglas, who is a professional stream biologist and who has been performing this kind of work for over 35 years. The study indicated that our beloved Creek still supports an amazingly diverse and robust ecosystem with many sensitive invertebrates. However, there are places where stormwater is impacting the habitat through erosion and deposition of fine grained sediments. Further studies would need to be conducted to find the exact locations and activities that are causing the problems, however it is likely a combination of increasing impervious surface and overzealous lawn mowing/trimming. It is also possible that nutrient pollution from Springtown is causing seasonal impacts to Silver Creek. It is not possible to know from this study if this is a result of inputs from the fish hatchery at the Rod and Gun Club or septic seepage from Springtown Village, or both. Both of these problems have been identified in previous studies.
The report is highly technical, but you can read a copy of it by clicking on this link. Additional information is provided in the Appendices (Appendix A depicts the sampling locations, Appendix B includes a habitat assessment of each site, Appendix C are the benchsheets for the study, and Appendix D is a quality assurance/quality control report).