Watershed Program

Bret Harte Bike Club wrapped up a special session, where Wednesdays on an adventure to learn about their local watershed - from the hills of Oakland down to the SF Bay, thanks to a grant from the Alameda County Clean Water Program. First they saw images of what Oakland was like just 300 years ago - one of the most biodiverse places on the planet. Then they rode bikes up to Diamond park, hiked up Sausal Creek and tested the water’s pH, temperature, phosphate and dissolved oxygen levels. All the results came out within a decent range, except for phosphate, the phosphate levels were high - meaning there’s fertilizer, sewage and/or detergents getting in the water. The following week students looked at raised relief maps and satellite maps of the Bay Area to better understand where it is they live, and how water flows across the land here. Then they road bikes down to where Sausal Creek flows into the SF Bay and tested the water again - the water quality tests came out pretty badly! The water was hot, the pH was off, oxygen was low, and the results for Phosphate were higher than before - not surprisingly - seeing that all the runoff from the streets in Oakland flows untreated into Oakland’s 13 creeks and the SF Bay!


The students also had their own personal interest in local water quality - they have been concerned that there was lead in Bret Harte’s drinking water, especially in the water coming from the Bike Club’s sink, so the students sent a Bike Club water sample to a local lab. Results showed that levels were 0.000182 ppb, with acceptable levels being between 0-15 ppb. Not bad! To wrap it up, the students installed “No Dumping - Drains to Bay” placards next to all the storm drains on the school yard, parking lot and street. Yay for Bret Harte Bike Club! We feel fortunate to have had the opportunity to work with such a wise, fun and unique group of individuals.