East Grand Rapids High School
East Grand Rapids High School began a long-term study of water quality of Reeds Lake, associated water bodies (Fisk Lake and Coldbrook Creek), and the effects of conditions at Reeds Lake on the Coldbrook Creek watershed as a whole. Students made use of chemical and biological water quality testing methods as outlined by the Lower Grand River Organization of Watersheds at three lake access points near East Grand Rapids High School. Students found that one of their three sampled locations had elevated phosphate and E. coli levels, which is consistent with the effects of runoff from land with high amounts of fertilizer and animal feces contamination. Notably, many instances of neglected dog waste were observed during our walks around the community on sampling days. This location has a stormwater drain pipe that is the likely facilitator of these effects. In future years, water testing will occur periodically throughout the school year (two or three times a year, as curriculum needs and weather allow) to continue monitoring conditions at these locations (and hopefully more).
Fostering Lifelong Stewardship:
My students now have a greater understanding of the effects of human activities on water quality, and how many undesirable aspects of inland lakes can be caused by their own behaviors on land. My hope is that students will now be more likely to take simple measures to help limit the runoff of materials into Reeds Lake that could lead to algal blooms or fecal bacterial growth.
Lower Grand River Organization of Watersheds, Coldbrook Creek Community
Corey Kapolka, 10th-12th Grade, Biology