Interns Hard at Work on the Preserve

A man standing in the middle of a forest with a hiking backpack on holding a walking stick. With trees and ferns all around him and a big log behind him.

The Foundation has brought on paid college interns at the Preserve for several years now. This year we were fortunate enough to find two talented interns, Jessica Whitehead and Jacob Weber, to continue to do important work at the Preserve. We’ve been lucky to have their talent and commitment to support our work to map the landscape. This year, they are putting a particular focus on the health of the creeks on the Preserve. This work is collecting data that we can use each year to determine water quality and the health of the fish and other life in our creeks.

We met with our current interns earlier this month to catch up on all their work. As a team, they are working on:

  • Collection and analysis of forest inventory data from sites across the Preserve, with a particular focus on difficult-to-reach boundary plots and those areas recovering from old timber harvest.
  • Development and integration of comprehensive water quality and stream morphology monitoring protocols, including integration of the collected data into fieldwork maps in ArcGIS.
  • Development and integration of genus-level population richness survey for benthic macroinvertebrates, including ArcGIS Survey123 integration and methodology consistent with Kitsap County Benthic Index of Biotic Integrity (B-IBI) sampling protocols. This work helps determine the biological health of our creeks.
  • Development of appendices to the Preserve’s Forest Management Plan for integration into the next revision of the plan. These appendices cover means and methods for measuring water quality standards, stream morphology, and benthic invertebrate sampling within the Survey123 framework. These additions will ensure that future interns, OC students, volunteers, and board members will be able to continue to build a comprehensive database of water quality and related data on Lost, Wildcat, and Chico creeks within the boundaries of the Preserve.
  • Development of side projects relevant to forest and stream health within the Preserve, including the use of Survey123 to monitor native plant mortality in the Hidden Valley area and topographic analysis of stormwater runoff threat into the Preserve from Seabeck Highway.

In addition, this summer they have obtained an annual scientific collection permit from the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife to conduct benthic invertebrate surveys within the boundaries of the Preserve. And, they have consulted with Kitsap County Public Works on stream monitoring best practices including climate change resilience and methods for ensuring comprehensive data collection.

It’s incredible how much they do to help us ensure that all the restoration work and native plantings support our overall work to ensure healthy waterways, habitat, and forestland. We can’t thank them enough for all they do for us.

– Jeff Wirtz, President