Riparian Habitat Enhancement
Starr Ranch in the News
- OC Register: From crime to conservation:“at risk” adults spruce up Starr Ranch
- SoCal News: Weed Warriors (mp4 video)
Starr Ranch is bordered on the west by a residential community of over 1,100 houses, extensive landscaping, and a golf course. All of the surface water run-off from this community is diverted and dumped into two Starr Ranch streams, Tick and Dove Creeks. Tick and Dove eventually meet with another, larger, Starr Ranch stream called Bell Creek (a headwater in the San Juan watershed). The residential surface water input into these streams is of concern to Ranch biologists because it alters chemical, physical, biological and hydrological dynamics.
We are currently engaged in two major restoration efforts. Starr Ranch manager, Pete DeSimone, is working on installation of pumps on catchment basins at the beginning of Tick and Dove Creeks. These pumps will divert the runoff away from our streams and back into the community’s water reclamation system. We hope to have the pumps installed and operational by 2005. Under the direction of our Director of Research and Education, Dr. Sandy DeSimone, we also have seasonal research interns cataloging the distribution and abundance of non-native plants in these three streams and developing a protocol for exotic plant control and native habitat enhancement.
Since 2003, Starr Ranch biologists have been using Rapid Bioassessment to gather baseline data on the impact of run-off on the physical habitat, chemical and biological components of water quality in Tick, Dove, and Bell before pump installment. We are also monitoring an unimpacted site in Bell Creek (north of where Tick and Dove join Bell) to use as a reference site. We will continue to monitor and document changes in water quality in the years following pump installment.
Education - Starr Ranch Field Ecology Programs
Ranch Research Team
We have organized a group of dedicated community members interested in watershed conservation to work as volunteer field assistants. These volunteer field assistants undergo yearly training workshops for using rapid bioassessment protocol and, under the direction of Starr Ranch staff biologists, carry out all of the data collection for this project. We also offer Research Internships for Undergraduates. The interns work as field crew leaders and have the opportunity to be more involved in methodological and analytical components of the project and in some cases conducting a related independent project.
The stream bioassessment project is fully integrated into our education programs. During 1-2 hour programs scouts, families, public school and homeschool students, and adults learn why and experience how biologists study streams. Participants address simple research questions and collect data on aquatic invertebrates and water chemistry. To schedule a program contact Sandy DeSimone.
Bioassessment Data 2003
- Aquatic Invertebrates
- Species Composition
- Species Diversity
- Species Richness
- Pollution Tolerance Values
- Feeding Guilds
- Dissolved Oxygen
- Phosphate & Nitrate
Bioassessment Data 2004-2006
- Starr Ranch Streamflow Map
- Annual Rainfall
- Aquatic Invertebrates
- Southern California B-IBI Scores
- EPT Richness
- Non-Insect Taxa
- Intolerant Individuals
- Chemical Data Summary Table
- Special Thanks To:
- Our volunteer field assistants: Al & Janet Baumann, Gwen Demitria, Marina Dupuis, Mosha and Javorca Gunic, Bill Hoese, Trude Hurd, Jessica Jennings, Ken Krause, Marvin Katz, Tim & Karen Morey, Zehava Parim-Adimor, Christiane Shannon, Bill Cullen, Becky Clarke, Chris Farmer, Jim Derrig and Scott Gibson.
- Bill Isham for his generous assistance with subsampling and taxonomic identification of our samples!
David Gibson with the San Diego Regional Water Control Board, for his time and expertise.
Erick Burres with the State Water Resources Control Board Clean Water Team for technical assistance and some supplies.
- How to Get Involved
- Contact the Assistant Director of Research and Education
- Scott Gibson
- 100 Bell Canyon Rd. Trabuco Canyon, CA 92679
- California Department of Fish and Game Aquatic Bioassessment Laboratory
Clean Water Team
California State Water Resources Control Board
County of Orange Watersheds and Coastal Resources Division
Environmental Protection Agency Rapid Bioassessment Protocols
California Streamside Biosurvey