Fresh Water testing for Microplastics begins!

Thru my WRPI/USDA grant I will be testing fresh water sources for microplastics, that flow to the ocean.  Ventura River, Perkins Estuary, Santa Clara River and Calleguas Creek will be the 4 main water sheds for testing at the river mouth into the ocean.  I am testing the soil as well as the water for the presence and abundance of microplastics.  Then I will be testing the watershed at its point source of pollution, which are the sewer treatment facilities that drain directly into 3/4 of these water sheds.

Threatened Western Snowy plovers and Endangered California Least Terns nest at the mouths of all of these water sheds as well as many other migrating water fowl.  I will be working with the Nest Monitor at Ormond beach where Perkins Estuary is located to possibly check hatched eggs for toxins as well.

I also have fresh water soil samples from watersheds in the Santa Monica Mountains that are not point source fed and have found micro plastics.  I am curious to see what the difference in abundance and types of particles we find in these different water sheds.  Hopefully with this information we can work on more policy change and infrastructure changes to the way we pollute our watersheds with plastic particles.

By Dorothy Horn

I am a senior as Cal State Channel Islands in The Environmental Science and Resource Management department.

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