Water Quality Projects

Rohnert Park Nutrient Loading Project


Is Rohnert Park contributing to nutrient loading into the Laguna de Santa Rosa? How do levels of ammonia, nitrate, nitrite, TKN, nitrogen, orthophosphate, and phosphorus change in Copeland Creek in different regions (rural, residential, downstream of agricultural runoff, and at the Laguna) over time?

  • Faculty: Jackie Guilford (ENSP)
  • Partners: Sonoma County Water Agency; The Digital/Critical Cohort

Copeland Creek Water Quality Monitoring Project


Our waterways receive overland flow during storms and water from our gutters and fields. Are there pollutants in Copeland Creek? Where do they come from? What parts of the creek are most compromised and when?

  • Faculty: Mike Cohen (Biology), Mark Perri (Chemistry), Debora Hammond (Arts & Humanities), Karina Nielsen (Biology), Nathan Rank (Biology)
  • Partners: Sonoma County Water Agency; School of Science & Technology NSF Grant "Stepping Up Stem"; Arts & Humanities; Sonoma County Youth Ecology Corps; SSU Preserves

Low-Cost Technique to Monitor Organophosphate Pesticides in Copeland Creek


Solid Phase Microextraction (SPME) is a relatively new technique that is used to separate organic compounds from water so that they can be analyzed by gas chromatography/mass spectroscopy. We are using the new technique to analyze samples from Copeland Creek and identify organic compounds, including organophosphate pesticides.

  • Faculty: Mark Perri (Chemistry)
  • Partners: SSU Research, Scholarship and Creative Activity Program (RSCAP)

Development of Microbial Specific Genetic Markers to Track Sources of Fecal Pollution


High levels of coliform bacteria and nutrients have been found in surface waters of the Laguna de Santa Rosa watershed. The City of Santa Rosa is interested in determining the sources of fecal pollution. This project develops polymerase chain reaction (PCR) techniques using microbial specific genetic markers to identify the source (i.e., poultry, dairy, human) of the bacteria.

  • Faculty: Mike Cohen (Biology), Mami Kainuma (Consultant)
  • Partners: City of Santa Rosa Environmental Compliance