Our Education Coordinator & AmeriCorps Member, Ryan (left) works with local 8th graders to gather data on the Lower Owens River.

Do you know how our local watersheds are monitored and managed?

Want to learn more about how the historic rewatering of the Lower Owens River has affected the health of this vital waterway?

These are important questions and middle school students throughout Inyo County are now learning the answers.

Working through the Eastern Sierra Watershed Project, our Education Coordinator and AmeriCorps Member, Ryan Delaney has been getting out on the land with young boys and girls to help them gather data. They’re working side-by-side, collecting observations about the river, its water quality, and the soil, plants, and wildlife that can be found along its banks.

And now, thanks to these budding scientists, you can see for yourself how the Owens River is doing by visiting the Eastern Sierra Watershed Project’s website!

This collaborative project began gathering “before” data in 2002 in anticipation of the 2006 rewatering of the Lower Owens River. Teachers, scientists, and land management professionals teamed up to create a curriculum to introduce students to the science behind watersheds, watershed monitoring, data collection, and the management of water resources. Each year, students in 7thand 8thgrade work with educators like Ryan to monitor the changes that are taking place over time.

The Eastern Sierra Watershed Project gives these young adults an opportunity to see the place in which they live as a science lab. They get to meet scientists, and help complete real, hands-on science that will impact our understanding of the natural world.

As these kids study the Lower Owens River, they’re learning a lot about what a healthy ecosystem means, and what we can all do to make this possible. We’re thrilled to help and look forward to learning right along with them!