Fountain Creek water quality study update

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Here’s an update on Colorado State University’s efforts to develop water quality data and find some answers to Fountain Creeks problems, from Chris Woodka writing for The Pueblo Chieftain. From the article:

Joe Garcia, CSU-Pueblo president touted the contributions of the Lower Arkansas Valley Water Conservancy District in helping set up the study and aiding in the purchase of the equipment – a high-tech inductively coupled plasma mass spectrometer – for the project. Since the program started in 2005, it has received support from the city of Pueblo and Pueblo County as well. With more support from all involved, the studies can be expanded from Fountain Creek to the Arkansas River, Garcia said.

Three parts of the study were reviewed Wednesday: Human bacteria in Fountain Creek, the presence of midges and the accumulation of metals in fish tissues. So far, there is no correlation in finding human bacteria looking at flows, time of year or location at the 27 Fountain Creek sites that have been sampled, said biology professor Brian Vanden Heuvel. “We just don’t know where it’s coming from,” Vanden Heuvel said. “The source of the E. coli remains a mystery.” Preliminary findings by the U.S. Geological Survey on Upper Fountain Creek are pointing to birds as the most likely source, he added.

Studies have found a wide variety of midge species – technically chironomids – on Fountain Creek, said biology professor Scott Herrmann. “They are the grocery source for fish,” Herrmann said. The presence or absence of species is a good indicator of the health of the creek, and can be used in the future to determine how the habitat is changing, he said.

Studies are also looking at the accumulation of metals like mercury, selenium and cadmium in fish tissues, said Kat McGarvy, a student working on the project.

More Fountain Creek coverage here and here.

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