We’re all a bit stir-crazy and can benefit from spring weather and spring flowers.  If you’re in Ames, I recommend walking east of the ISU campus, where (as of April 5) the ground is carpeted with blue flowered squills, Scilla siberica.  It’s not often that you see that color blue in nature, or in that quantity!

While you’re there, take a peek in College Creek.  When I visited, the water was clear, the bottom was rocky, and it was full of 4-6 inch fish.

fish in College Creek

This was great to see.  College Creek used to be a dump, but between legal action against businesses and mobile home parks that were discharging sewage, urban conservation projects, and the annual trash clean-up event, it’s become a lovely place.  Most of our backyard streams have the same potential, if we treat them right.

I should caution you that that E. coli levels in College Creek and other streams in Ames often exceed the primary contact recreation standard, but you’re washing your hands constantly anyway, right?  (Bold values in the table below exceed the single-sample maximum of 235 colonies/100mL.  Data are collected and posted by the City of Ames.)

SAMPLE DATE   SKUNK RIVER  SQUAW CREEK  CLEAR CREEK  COLLEGE CREEK  WORLE CREEK    
October 11, 2019 558 758 268 1,024 378
September 24, 2019 1,764 1,446 320  904 1,024
August 6, 2019 122 2,909 6,867 8,664 3,448
July 16, 2019 839 5,172 24,196 >24,196 2,098
June 11, 2019 173 374 414 583 594
May 16, 2019 63 231 189 265 384
April 9, 2019 122 158 85 2909 448
October 16, 2018  187  187  171 298  282
September 18, 2018  479 105 50 261
August 14, 2018  275  529  1439  2098  —