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Student Led Science: Water Researchers

Recently Keep Coyote Creek Beautiful partnered with the students of Yerba Buena High School to conduct a series of water quality tests on the section of Coyote Creek nearest to their school. As part of that project their teacher Dr. Rosemarie Calma had them write about their experience. Below we have the write up by Kimberly, Melani, Brenda, Josyln and one unnamed student.

Coyote Creek, Testing Location
Coyote Creek, Testing Location

Coyote Creek is a beautiful waterway and it is being surrounded by trash. Urban runoff, encampments and illegal dumping are significantly damaging the creek habitat of fish and other wildlife. Keep Coyote Creek Beautiful and the City of San Jose are aiming to improve the water quality by addressing trash at its source and focusing on the areas of greatest pollution. As part of this effort, we are testing the Coyote Creek water to see if it’s environmentally safe for people and wildlife.

On February 16, 2022, we used the sample of water that Mr. Colter Cook took from the Coyote Creek to run tests and collect data. We were able to find the pH level (how acidic or basic), percent of oxygen saturation, dissolved oxygen (DO), and salinity (ppt).

YBHS students doing water research.
YBHS students doing water research.

Dr. Calma divided us into 4 groups to experiment with the same test to see if we all end up with a different result. I was in charge of writing down the result and finding the average for each. While Kimberly, Melani, Brenda, and Josyln were finding the PH level, salinity, and oxygen levels of the water.

pH Test

My partners and I were anticipating for the water to turn out purple when we placed the TestTab in the tubes because it would be pretty and cool. But the color turned out to be lime green which indicates that the PH level is a 7. This means that the water is neutral.

Dissolved Oxygen test, darker color = more oxygen
Dissolved Oxygen test. Writing left to right: 8ppm, 4ppm, 4ppm (ppm= parts per milliion)

The challenging part of this project was finding the saturation. We were able to determine the percentage of saturation by using the value of the sample water temperature and the result of dissolved oxygen during our test. In order to keep the Coyote Creek beautiful, we should restore through cleanups and plantings and stop throwing away trash.

Trash in Coyote Creek

Made possible by donations by City of San Jose ESD and EarthEcho.

Written by Kimberly, Melani, Brenda, Josyln and one unnamed student of YBHS

Edited by Colter Cook


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