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Welcome to our ongoing effort to catalog citizen science and other public participation in scientific research (PPSR) projects for UC California Naturalists and other citizen scientists.  We invite you to browse the listed projects or enter key words (like birds, youth, invasive, coast, Alameda, etc.) in the search box above to find projects in your area. It's a great way to stay involved and keep developing your skills as a natural scientist!

A vast majority of the information in the database was gathered from project websites and may be out of date. We encourage you to contact projects directly to get involved and learn about most recent opportunities. If you work with a listed project and would like to add to, update, or correct the information we have, please email cghdixon@ucdavis.edu. Also, please consider filling out the "PPSR perspectives" survey. Click here to access the survey, which will help guide this project in the coming year.

If you know of a project not on our list, please go to the "tell us about a project" link on the left so we can list the project here. Thanks for your help!

Special thanks goes to the National Science Foundation Informal Science Education program and the Stephen J. Bechtel, Jr. Foundation for supporting this database of projects.

Friends of Deer Creek

  • Organization Name
    Sierra Streams Institute
  • Partners
    N / A
  • Contact Name
    N / A
  • Contact Email
    N / A
  • Contact Phone
  • Other Contact Information

    Contact page: http://www.friendsofdeercreek.org/contact_form.html


  • Project Purpose (taken from project materials)

    Conduct thorough assessment of ecological condition of the Deer Creek Watershed using an integrated approach and understanding of how chemical, physical, and biological conditions interact and influence one another. Deer Creek has been impacted by human use and abuse since the days of the Gold Rush.

  • Participant Activities

    Water Quality Monitoring: Participants help with monthly water quality monitoring at 17 sites. Participants help measure nitrate, orthophosphate, dissolved oxygen, turbidity, pH, conductivity, water temperature, ambient air temperature, and bacteria (total coliform and E. coli). In June and October, volunteers assist with collecting macroinvertebrates (creek bugs) from their monitoring sites.

    Identify Benthic Macroinvertebrates: help process macroinvertebrate samples in our laboratory. Volunteers use microscopes to count and identify macroinvertebrates in the lab. Participants will obtain valuable lab and observation skills and learn a great deal about dichotomous keys and invertebrate anatomy and zoology.

    Sample Storm Water in Deer Creek: Participants get out in the field at random hours and see some amazing stream flows! During the times of high stream flow that result from rain and snowmelt events, samples are collected for water quality, suspended solids, and mercury analysis. Volunteers will assist with sample collection at several sites in the Deer Creek watershed. Sites are concentrated around Nevada City and Lake Wildwood Reservoir.

    Help with Field Work: Participants help collect benthic macroinvertebrates and algae and perform physical habitat assessments. Participants get to play in the creek, collect bugs and slimy algae, and learn about hydrology, geomorphology, and river ecology. Visit the Stream Science page for examples of the kinds of data participants help generate, as well as information on why these are important activities.

  • Data Entry
    • Collection Kits
    • Data Sheets
  • Other Participant Activities

    Volunteers can also help build trails and participant in restoration projects. More information can be found here: http://www.friendsofdeercreek.org/volunteer.html

    Also, SSEEP (Sierra Streams Environmental Education Program) offers science education programs with an emphasis on outdoor learning to local schools, homeschool students, Sierra College, and the California State University system. Classes are offered in the Sierra Streams Institute facility, and students have the opportunity to assist in actual field restoration and monitoring projects, exposing them to careers in restoration ecology, hydrology, conservation, fisheries management, and wildlands management.

  • System Studied
    • Water Quality
    • Invertebrates
    • Habitat Restoration
    • Wetlands - Freshwater Streams and Marshes
  • Geographic Scope
  • Region
  • Location
    Multiple sites in the Deer Creek Watershed in Nevada County
  • Location - Map
    431 Uren St., Suite C Nevada City CA 95959
  • Time Commitment
    • Monthly
  • Volunteer Qualifications

    Water Monitoring & Macroinvertebrate Identification: No experience needed. The project welcomes volunteers of all ages and backgrounds with an interest in our work and a desire to participate.

  • Volunteer Training

    Water Monitoring: Volunteers are thoroughly trained and paired with experienced staff members for all projects and regular monitoring activities, both in the field and in the lab.

    Macroinvertebrate Identification: No experience neccessary - training will be provided.

  • Cost to Participant
    N / A
  • How will the findings be used?

    Management Plans, Publications and Reports written using volunteer data are posted at http://www.friendsofdeercreek.org/publications.html

    Data contributes to efforts to: 

    • Help local governments develop "creek-friendly" construction practices throughout the county.
    • Work with Deer Creek property owners and city, county, state, and federal agencies to find science-based solutions to Deer Creek’s problems. 
    • Work with Nevada County Department of Environmental Health to identify and remediate bacteria sources.
    • Provide scientific data to the State to bring needed attention to the lower Deer Creek watershed to improve water quality and ecosystem health.
  • Other Information

    Water Monitoring takes place during the second week of the month and requires a commitment of 1-2 hours per month.

    Macroinvertebrate sessions occur every Wednesday morning from 8 to 12, and on the 2nd and 4th Wednesday evening of each month from 5 to 8. Participants join volunteer bug expert Sandy Williamson and others in the lab.

    Field Work takes place during three weeks in June, and then again in October.

  • Photo
    N / A
  • last update:

If you work with this project and would like to add to or update the information below, please email cghdixon@ucdavis.edu.

If you know of a project not on our list, please go to the "tell us about a project" link on the left so we can list the project here. Thanks for your help!

This database is focused on projects in California focused on the environment. For opportunities outside California, as well as national projects that don't have a California-specific components, check http://www.birds.cornell.edu/citscitoolkit/projects.