The Project
Benton County Water Quality
A Philomath High School Senior Project
At PHS, all seniors are required to complete a senior project in order to graduate. The project can be anything that falls into one of the six CAM (Certificate of Advanced Mastery) areas: Natural Resources, Health Services, Business and Management, Arts and Communications, Industrial and Engineering Systems, and Human Resources. It consists of a research paper, an outside hands on project, a mentorship (or internship) and a final presentation. The project is to interest the student and perhaps give the student a glimpse into a possible career choice.
The research paper is a large assignment that involves obviously researching skills, writing skills and the proper use of in-text citations and works cited pages. Most seniors complete this piece during their senior year. I, however, enrolled in the Advanced Placement Junior English class and our final assignment of the year was this research paper.
The outside hands on project must be relevant to the final product and requires a minimum number of hours. A mentor is required to ask questions about the specific project and for guidance. My final product is this web page and my outside hands on project is traveling around to swimming holes in the Mary's River watershed to test different parameters to determine the water quality. My mentor is Ron Smith, Senior Environmental Health Specialist at the Benton County Health Department.
My final presentation will be presented to a board of three teachers and other interested parties in my last weeks of being a senior (the end of May 2003).
The Project
This is me using the GPS to locate the water sites. Click on the picture to see the final map of the sites.
The reason for this page is let you, the public, be aware of how our local streams are faring. Also,this site allows you to view the condition of some local swimming holes in a fairly recent time period. My plan is to visit each river site once every two weeks during the months of July, August, and September 2002.
The following water quality parameters are measured at 9 sites in the Mary's River watershed:
pH (Scale from 0-14 with 7 being ideal) Should be from 6.5 to 8.5. An OakTon pHTestr1 is what is used.
Temperature (Listed in Celsius ) Should be 17.8C ( 64F) for salmonid rearing.12.8C (55F) for waters during periods of native salmonid spawning, egg  incubation, and fry emergence from the egg and from the gravels. The thermometer on the D.O. meter is what is used.
Turbidity; (How many solids are suspended in the water) Excessive turbidity is  detrimental to aquatic life. The Oregon State water quality criteria requires that there shall be no more than a ten percent cumulative increase in natural stream turbidities measured relative to a control point immediately upstream of the turbidity causing activity. Turbidity is       useful in monitoring stream sediment, its source, transportation, and deposition. A Hach 2100P Turbidimeter is what is used.
D.O.[Dissolved Oxygen] The State of Oregon water quality dissolved oxygen standards are as follows: for water-bodies providing for cold-water aquatic life, the DO shall not be less than 8.0 mg/L; for water-bodies providing for cool-water aquatic life, the DO shall not be less than 6.5 mg/L; and for water bodies providing for warm-water aquatic life, the DO       shall not be less than 5.5 mg/L. A Hach DO175 D.O. meter is what is used.
E. coli [Escherichia coli] (Measured by both myself and the state; in colonies per 1ml) 406 organisms/100 ml for a single sample and 126 organisms/100 ml for a 30-day log mean based on a minimum of five samples. I will plate out E. coli at home and will also send water samples to be tested to the state lab. Any data that surpasses the limits listed here will be resampled and investigated by Ron Smith until the matter is cleared up.
Click on the picture to see my results.
Visibility Depth Depth is measured for those interested in swimming. A red and black checkered swimming pool visibility disk is what is used.
Other notes are taken concerning signs of human presence, weather and any other notes made at the site.
Other Projects
Ecology Class at PHS (2001-2002) taught by Jeff Mitchell
Gene Tools  wetland mitigation
Water Treatment Plant Riverbank Restoration Project
Mary's River Outfall Restoration on 13th street
Invertebrates sampling on the Mary's River
Mary's  River Park Nature Trail maintenance
Green Summit that brought up ideas to help make a greener school
Camas study at the Philomath library field
Electroshocking fish sampling
Planting trees along downtown Philomath streets
Amphibian studies at Airport Road and the wetlands north of Main Street near the  old mill
Snake study in Wren next to Mary's River
Dendrology field trip to the Coast Range
Elementary Teachings
Wren Community Organization Mary's River Water Quality Projects
In 1998 through 2000, the WCO received a grant to purchase some equipment and it also borrowed some equipment from Philomath High School to monitor the Mary's River in the area of Wren. There were 5 sites that were visited monthly. After a year, my dad and I took the project on. We took measurements at the sites and took some samples back to the school to be measured there. Parameters included temperature, DO, water depth, conductivity, pH, and turbidity. We have since ceased to carry out the project for lack of time and the teacher at PHS that had helped us with it took a sabbatical in 2000. That is not to say that the Wren community is not still concerned with Mary's River water quality; it still does, it just doesn't have the equipment to prove it.
Contact me through