Water Quality and Flow Projects

Kyler Connolly and Chris Dennison at weather tower

Automated Weather Station for Copeland Creek Headwaters


An automated weather station is installed at SSU Osborn Preserve to provide reliable real-time data on the amount of rainfall and other climate variables in the upper watershed. The data can be used to better understand relationships between rainfall and flow measured in the lower watershed at the USGS hydrology station at Santa Alicia Road in Rohnert Park.

  • Faculty: Farid Farahmand (Engineering Science)
  • Partners: SSU Preserves

Copeland Creek Water Quality Monitoring Project


Our waterways receive overland flow during storms and water from our gutters and fields. Are there pollutants in Copeland Creek? Where do they come from? What parts of the creek are most compromised and when?

  • Faculty: Mike Cohen (Biology), Mark Perri (Chemistry), Debora Hammond (Arts & Humanities), Karina Nielsen (Biology), Nathan Rank (Biology)
  • Partners: Sonoma County Water Agency; School of Science & Technology NSF Grant "Stepping Up Stem"; Arts & Humanities; Sonoma County Youth Ecology Corps; SSU Preserves

Development of Microbial Specific Genetic Markers to Track Sources of Fecal Pollution


High levels of coliform bacteria and nutrients have been found in surface waters of the Laguna de Santa Rosa watershed. The City of Santa Rosa is interested in determining the sources of fecal pollution. This project develops polymerase chain reaction (PCR) techniques using microbial specific genetic markers to identify the source (i.e., poultry, dairy, human) of the bacteria.

  • Faculty: Mike Cohen (Biology), Mami Kainuma (Consultant)
  • Partners: City of Santa Rosa Environmental Compliance
evapotranspiration diagram

Copeland Creek Watershed Evapotranspiration Project


Evapotranspiration is an important but variable part of the water cycle. To better understand water cycle dynamics in the Copeland Creek watershed, a student research team constructed and installed a sensor network to continuously monitor environmental conditions and tree water loss in the headwaters at the Fairfield Osborn Preserve.

  • Faculty: Tom Buckley (Biology)