Water Quality Projects

Rohnert Park Nutrient Loading Project


Is Rohnert Park contributing to nutrient loading into the Laguna de Santa Rosa? How do levels of ammonia, nitrate, nitrite, TKN, nitrogen, orthophosphate, and phosphorus change in Copeland Creek in different regions (rural, residential, downstream of agricultural runoff, and at the Laguna) over time?

  • Faculty: Jackie Guilford (ENSP)
  • Partners: Jeff Church (SCWA); The Digital/Critical Cohort

Oxygen Depletion by the Water Fern, Azolla sp.


Dense mats of the water fern, Azolla sp., can block sunlight and potentailly depleting oxygen in the water. This study measures the amount of oxygen in the water at the Fairfield Osborn Preserve's Kelly pond to determine whether Azolla growth may be affecting aquatic life in the pond.

  • Faculty: Martha Shott (Math and Statistics)
  • Partner: Center for Environmental Inquiry

Nutrient and E. coli Levels Upstream and Downstream of the Proposed Detention and Recharge Basin


Samples taken upstream and downstream of the proposed detention and recharge basin area on Copeland Creek enable pre- and post-comparisons of water quality.

  • Faculty: Michael Cohen

Assessing Invertebrate Diversity in Highly-Altered Aquatic Ecosystems


Benthic macro-invertebrate (BMI) communities are used to assess the condition and relative health of aquatic ecosystems in two artificial lakes (SSU campus lakes and Mountain Lake at the San Francisco Presidio). Monitoring data allow assessment of the success of aquatic ecosystem restoration efforts.

  • Faculty: Nick Geist
  • Partners: SSU Facilities, Presidio Trust

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: 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; Center for Environmental Inquiry

Low-Cost Technique to Monitor Organophosphate Pesticides in Copeland Creek


Solid Phase Microextraction (SPME) is a relatively new technique that is used to separate organic compounds from water so that they can be analyzed by gas chromatography/mass spectroscopy. We are using the new technique to analyze samples from Copeland Creek and identify organic compounds, including organophosphate pesticides.

  • Faculty: Mark Perri (Chemistry)
  • Partners: SSU Research, Scholarship and Creative Activity Program (RSCAP)

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