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Volunteers testing the waters at Carpenter Creek

"KINGSTON - Braving the mud and the muck, about 20 Kingston residents ventured down to Carpenter Creek Saturday to test its waters. Concerned that the nearly three-mile creek is not as healthy as it should be, the group will start monthly testing at three different points on the creek. Currently the Kitsap County Health District, students in the Options program and Cub Scouts all monitor Carpenter Creek, but not as thoroughly as the volunteers will said Randi Thurston, a member of the Kitsap County's Community Development Department. Thurston and Mauro Heine, of the Kitsap County Stream Team, conducted a workshop Saturday to teach volunteers how to monitor the creek's water quality. The volunteers will test the creek's water for about a dozen different items including temperatures, pH, velocity, turbidity, dissolved oxygen content and fecal coliform levels. The stations, Thurston said, will better help them pinpoint the source of a certain problem. For the next five years the group will gather data for the creek's baseline. The creek, which can be home to Coho salmon, Cutthroat trout, Stickleback and Crayfish, is not in very good health Thurston said. High levels of fecal coliform and low levels of dissolved oxygen have been a problem for the creek she said. Salmon typically like high levels of dissolved oxygen, the volunteers learned. Carpenter Creek travels from upland on Parcell Road to Carpenter Lake and then out to Appletree Cove. Carpenter Creek has good potential for returning salmon, said Joleen Palmer of the Stillwaters. The practice run held Saturday began in a portable classroom at Gordon Elementary. There the group learned the basics of what elements would be measured in the creek and why they should be measured. After about an hour of lectures, the group headed out to the field to put their knowledge to work. The group divided into three smaller groups and went to three different parts of the creek. For the purpose of the day's lesson, they stayed relatively close together. Some people in the group wanted to learn more about Carpenter Creek, while others wanted to learn how to monitor a creek in general. Maasberg said she was pleased with the amount of interest shown and questions people asked during the workshop. Thurston agree that the meeting was the start of something that will perhaps trickle into other areas of the county. It's a big part of citizen education and awareness, Thurston said of the program. This can be a role model for how people care about the watershed where they live. "

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