Escondido Creek Project Summary
(2007) California Wildlands Grassroots Fund/Tides Foundation grant awarded to Golden State Flycasters for water quality analysis in Escondido Creek.
The Escondido Creek Project was designed to assess water quality over a one year period in Escondido Creek as a candidate steelhead recovery stream in San Diego County and to establish a highly trained group of GSF/TU-San Diego volunteers for water quality analysis and habitat restoration in support of steelhead recovery efforts in Southern California. Our stream sampling studies generated two complementary types of water quality data for Escondido Creek: a “snapshot” view of current water quality through on-site water chemistry tests, and a long-term view of water quality through bioassessment which uses macroinvertebrate population indicators based on their differential tolerance limits to water impurities. We worked collaboratively with San Diego Coastkeeper on sampling training and logistics, and received training from California Department of Fish and Game in the latest Surface Water Ambient Monitoring Program (SWAMP) Bioassessment protocol. Macroinvertebrate samples obtained from bioassessment sampling at five sites over a two year period by GSF/TU volunteers were analyzed by Weston Labs in San Diego. Overall, the water chemistry studies showed good water quality characteristics of water temperature and high dissolved oxygen levels, and had relatively high conductivity and nitrate levels at the five sites tested between the coast and Escondido Creek Preserve. The Index of Biotic Integrity (IBI) is a standardized ranking of water quality based on macroinvetrebrate population distribution, and had lower scores than headwater reference sites in San Diego County. Escondido Creek remains one of the most logistically simple steelhead trout re-introduction passageways in San Diego County due to adequate water flow, lack of urbanization, a managed lagoon, extensive canopy cover, and lack of near-ocean migration barriers.
Final Report from Golden State Flycasters submitted to Tides Foundation for Grant TFA07-00015: Bioassessment Analysis of Water Quality in Escondido Creek, San Diego County.