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Plaster Creek Stewards

A collaboration of Calvin College faculty, staff, and students working with local partners to restore Plaster Creek watershed.

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Education and outreach

Raising community awareness about the watershed through workshops, seminars, presentations, and volunteer workdays.

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Monitoring stream health through a research methods class, part of the Biology curriculum.

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Implementing on-the-ground habitat restoration throughout the watershed

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Plaster Creek Stewards

Working to restore health and beauty to the Plaster Creek Watershed

Getting better acquainted with Plaster Creek Watershed

Summer 2015

This summer marks a high point in the number of faculty/staff (7) and students (13) who will be doing research and management activities related to Plaster Creek. Here is a brief synopsis of the projects that will be happening:

1. Hydrology modeling.
This is a project headed up by Julie Wildschutt in the Engineering Dept and her assistant, Ryan DeGroot (an engineering major). They will be developing a model so that we know the relative stormwater contributions coming from the various sub-watersheds. So when it rains 1 inch and the creek floods, we'll be able to know how much flood water is being contributed from different areas of the watershed. Dr. Bob Hoeksema, also from the Engineering Department, will be advising on this project.

2. E. coli sourcing.
Dr. Randy DeJong will be working with YeaEun Lee, Andre Otte and Thuy-Tien Nguyen on this project which utilizes the Biomark HD Analyzer to taxonomically source E. coli. They will be testing E. coli that is entering the main stream channel from 10 major tributaries with the goal of identifying the prevailing sources (bovine, feline, human, avian, raccoon-ine, etc.) coming from each sub watershed.

3. Ecological Restoration.
Mike Ryskamp will work with Wes Dykstra and Dena DeKryger on a variety of green-infrastructure, on-the-ground projects in the watershed. This work will involve generating transplants from the greenhouse and tree nursery and putting them into the ground in these various projects. Wes and Dena will likely have dirt under their fingernails all summer long.

4. Restoration Ecology.
Leanna DeJong will be assisting Dr. Dave Warners in collecting and processing data from restoration projects that have been done in the past, and setting up experimental plots in projects we will be implementing this summer.

5. Geographic Information Systems.
Dr. Jason Van Horn will work with Annaka Scheeres and Charlotte Reynolds at refining our GIS database for the watershed. They will also be generating some informational videos for educational purposes and to highlight some of the ongoing research work.

6. High School Green Team.
Micah Warners and Deanna Geelhoed will be working with Mike Ryskamp and Mr. Gary Warners (a middle school science teacher) as they host 8 high school students as part of our 2015 Plaster Creek Green Team. This group will learn about many of the environmental justice issues in the watershed and will also learn green infrastructure job skills through implementing and managing urban restoration projects. They will also be coordinating with a Rogue River Watershed Green Team and doing some joint projects with them.

In addition we will also be joined this summer by an intern, Jessica Kim, who is a graduate of Messiah College. Jessica will be floating among these various projects along with volunteer Jen Ai Quan. Jen Ai may also be working on some soil testing, which is what she did last summer for an urban gardening initiative in Detroit.




Read our Newsletter!Fall 2011 Newsletter


Love thy Downstream Neighbor: From Plaster Creek to the St. Lawrence River

Our fall event was Saturday, September 22 10:00am-12:30pm at the Bunker Interpretive Center.

View photos from the project or check out images from the presentation here, and view news coverage here.



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