Environmental Studies Student Papers

Document Type


Publication Date

Fall 2017


Water is an essential resource for all life. Water sustains ecological processes that are important to the survival of fish, vegetation, wetlands, and birds. It contributes to humans by providing drinking water, irrigation, and also is an inspiration for recreational, cultural, and spiritual practices. Anthropogenic activities affect water quality in various ways, and a significant portion of the human population is currently experiencing water stress. The quality of water, as well as its social and economic value, share a positive relationship. Therefore, as water quality becomes degraded by pollution, the environmental, social, and economic value also decrease. The recognition of the importance of safe water has created crucial policies in the United States and internationally.

Our study looks specifically into the water quality of Cozine Creek, located in Yamhill County, Oregon. The goal of our study was to determine how water quality variables compared among our sampling sites in 2017 and across the years from 2011 to 2017. We used the definition of water quality as determined by measuring physical, chemical, and biological characteristics. We measured dissolved oxygen (DO), biochemical oxygen demand (BOD), pH, temperature, flow, turbidity, macroinvertebrates, bacterial counts, nutrients, and surrounding vegetation. To present a better understanding to the measurements of the water quality variables, we compared the measurements to the scientifically known parameters of healthy salmonid habitat, since the presence of salmon indicates a healthy watershed. Our data suggest that the overall quality of our three sites along Cozine Creek is poor, and there was little to no improvement of water quality when compared to previous years' data. It is likely that the water quality can be attributed to agricultural and urban runoff possibly containing waste, storm water, pesticides, fertilizer, and other chemicals.


This paper was completed as part of the requirements for ENVS 460 (Senior Capstone I: Environmental Research Methods) at Linfield College.



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