Restoration of our waterways is not a short-term or easy process.  Successful restoration requires the cooperation of many groups including city and county officials as well as local citizens over a long term. 

Stream corridor restoration can be expensive.  Streams are dependant on nature to heal past practices, but nature is not always predictable.   Monitoring during and after the restoration is a way to help detect problems before they become unmanageable.  Monitoring usually involves looking at the biological, geological, hydrological, chemical and physical components of the creek. 

The biological observation of the stream is probably the most rewarding to a non-scientist.  It involves learning the vegetation and organisms that live along the creek.  It is a life-long skill to observe and appreciate what nature brings to our doorstep.  Understanding the biological component helps to determine if restoration was successful or not. 

This next section is a compilation of the biological data along the entire reach of Mission Creek.  It includes the different organisms that live in and along the creek.  This is a  record of what was observed over a year’s time, with emphasis on the urban portion of Mission Creek.   It is not a complete list.

Biological assessment of an area is a long and tedious process.  This base survey just reflects the diversity, not abundance or specific location within the creek.  If a stream corridor has an abundance of larger animals, that infers an ecosystem which is supporting itself.  The food web has an internal structure that supports the different layers of the food pyramid.  The following chapters document the major plants, vertebrates, and microorganisms.

 There are some groups like land arthropods, annelids, and other small land invertebrates that are missing from this survey.  We tried to concentrate on aquatic and near aquatic area.   Although they are all important, they are not as helpful on monitoring successful restoration over a long period of time.

The plant section includes aquatic plants, trees, shrubs, other flower plants, and grasses.  The vertebrate section includes birds, mammals, amphibians, and reptiles.  Birds dominate the section because they reflect the top of the food chain.  The more birds documented the richer the food web supporting those animals. 

Aquatic microorganisms are emphasized because they reflect most accurately the health of the water in which it lives.  It can provide clues on the chemical balance of the creek. 

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