Dominican University - Creek Rehabilitation and Ideas for Further Research and Integration

At the moment, this is a rough draft of ideas that have evolved in discussions between Joanne Tippett, Dr. Cunnigham, Peter Thut and the students of Biology 4400 - Environmental Science, Spring 2002. They are posted here on the web as a resource for students at Dominican who are looking for research projects for term papers or dissertations.

Long Term Environmental Data Collection

There is the potential to set up long term studies of watershed health and the impacts of both restoration efforts and landscape changes on campus on the creek. A format such that data could be easily posted to, and accessed from, the web, would facilitate long term and cross-disciplinary study. Some mechanisms for data quality assurance and standardization would be required. An integrated GIS system would assist in such data coordination.

Such studies require long term data into areas such as:

water flow

water quality

biodiversity - aquatic organisms and riparian species

watershed characteristics such as sinuosity, back full channels

See Riley, A. (1998). Restoring Streams in Cities:A Guide for Planners, Policymakers, and Citizens. Washington DC, Island Press. for more detail.


There are several possible theses in this work, e.g.:

a survey of base line data with work to determine appropriate data sources and gathering techniques.

a study into watershed characteristics such as sinuosity, drainage basin size - deviations from norm for area and study into potential causes

study to determine vegetative characteristics, the potential for control of nonnative species and reestablishment of native riparian habitiat.

Study into possible effects of replacing eucalyptus trees with native trees, barriers and design solutions

Social Science

Possibility for studies into the oral history of the area, Native American history, links with local history societies.

Possibility for community engagement in the creek rehabilitation process - needs baseline surveys of attitudes and perceptions of creek, problems, potentials.

Ongoing work to see how attitudes change and can be changed


Project based links with local schools, e.g. Davidson Middle School.

Environmental education component of emergency science credential; for teachers.

Possibility of developing a training program in project based learning for teacher trainers.


Projects could include:

interpretive landscape, how to engage people's understanding of, and appreciation for, the creek and its environment

Sculpture gardens relating to the landscape.

The role of art in recording changes in the creek - form, vegetation, color. Role of photography in setting up an ongoing record of the creek.

Graphics design for developing educational material.

Dissemination of Information

Electronic publication of theses related to creek restoration, sustainability and environmental science would help to build a resource of scientific information. Instead of reinventing the wheel, it may be wise to see if the

Electronic Thesis and Dissertation System run by NETWORKED DIGITAL LIBRARY OF THESES AND DISSERTATIONS