'Citizen scientists' teach kids about Boise River water quality

Posted at 4:42 PM, Sep 29, 2018
and last updated 2018-09-30 01:03:59-04

You've seen it, you've floated it, and you affect its overall health.
"Any time we turn on a faucet, any time we flush a toilet that water is going right to the Boise River," said U.S. Geological Surveys Idaho Water Science Center.

Stretching from Lucky Peak all the way to Parma, water quality samples were taken from 11 different sites along the Boise River.

"If you go up to lucky peak the water tends to be cooler clearer better water quality. The water tends to degrade a little bit as we go downstream the water gets warmer, cloudy and that's where the human impacts begin to be seen."  

Volunteers got hands-on, testing turbidity, water temperature and insects found in the river to see if the various areas were healthy for fish and other organisms. It wasn't just scientists helping out; the hands catching these crawling critters might be younger than you'd imagine.

"We're testing the water quality to see if it's healthy for fish to live in or not healthy," said 7th grader Holly Affenita. 

Junior high students put their science class knowledge to the test, identifying the insects and tracking pH levels. Their samples are vital to the overall surveying of the river. 

"We're the next generation, and we have to take care of our earth, starting with our community," said 8th grader Josie Tigli. 

The sampling helps community members of every age learn what's going on with our river and stresses to our aspiring teachers, innovators, and conservationists how to help keep it in tip-top shape. 

"It's good to learn about this when you're younger because then as you grow up, you can know and then you can learn more about it and be really smart about it," said Affenita.