|Arial view of Radcliffe Creek|
|Osprey with dinner|
The times that I have kayaked along the creek I have seen numerous Ospreys, Red-winged Black Birds, Great Blue Herons, two muskrats, a few turtles (I was not able to get close enough to determine the type of turtle), and some very small fish. The creek itself has high potential to become a fantastic area for wildlife, as it is already home to many different types of organisms. Since there had been no prior delineation of it, one of the first things that I began doing when I found out about Radcliffe Creek was delineate its watershed in order to get an idea of the land that contributes to its runoff. I also went out on the creek and measured various depths of Radcliffe so that a 3D bathymetric model of the creek can be produced at some point. Since there has been virtually no research conducted on Radcliffe Creek, there is a lot to catch up on and even more to pursue. My primary focus for the past two months has been to test the overall water quality of Radcliffe. I perform biweekly surveys of the creek and measure temperature, salinity, dissolved oxygen (both in mg/L and % saturation), Chlorophyll a and pH using a water quality sonde. I also take water samples from four different sites along the creek and use them to test for ammonia, nitrate, orthophosphate, total nitrogen and total phosphorus. The average amount of total nitrogen within the creek has been 2.5 mg/L and the average total phosphorus is 0.26 mg/L which produces a nitrogen (N) to phosphorus (P) ratio of about 10 to 1 rather than the16 to 1 that is typically needed for phytoplankton. (This means that for every atom of P used a phytoplankton cell needs 16 atoms of N – on average). It appears that N may be limiting phytoplankton growth, at least for the short period of time that I have been investigating the Radcliffe Creek water quality.
|Students paddling on Radcliff Creek|
Drew Hobbs is an Environmental Studies major with minors in Computer Science and Chemistry. He will be starting his Junior year at Washington College in the fall.