Dr. Mark R. Boardman

healthy streams
healthy streams

Professor – Geology

"Our health and the health of our streams are directly connected."

All households have a connection to the stream. All the water we use goes to streams. (And rivers and oceans). The streams clean the water for us – and if we take care of them it is free. High quality life in our home depends upon having high quality streams for our water to go where it can be cleaned economically. Without them, we would have to pay for what nature will do for free.

Unhealthy streams are muddy, with lots of silt, no fish or insects, and covered with algae. We can’t swim in them; they smell and the water is not fit for humans and animals. They are an open sewer.

Our research is to determine how healthy are our streams. We measure the types of fish in the stream, quantities of mud and silt, distribution of trees along the waterway, changes in the stream bed, insects in the water and levels of various chemicals to determine the overall health of the stream.

We frequently use the Natural Areas for our research, especially Harker’s Run, which goes through naturally wooded areas, buffered from roads, with long stretches of good clean areas. Because we can wade in it and access both sides of the stream for study it is of great value for our research.

We like the accessibility of the area and the well-maintained trails help us get to the study sites easily. Our research costs are reduced because of our close proximity and having year-to-year access for measurement is critical for our studies.