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Orange County Coastkeeper Garden staff member Angela Castanon and interns Rupert Barnett and Will Glasband spent an afternoon measuring Trabuco Creek in the Cleveland National Forest to better understand the stream’s changing water levels and hydrology. 

Through skillful use of designated markers, measuring tape and stadia rods, the group analyzed and collected scientific data to assist the USDA Forest Service in its efforts. Such data included how wide certain parts of the creek were compared to others, and how deep the creek was (i.e. the thalweg) in each cross-section. This quantitative data is longitudinal, and will be measured again in the future for comparative analysis. 


In an educational manner, the Trabuco Creek research experience provided hands-on experience for Castanon, Barnett and Glasband. Conducting data analysis and observational research in the field illustrates one of many learning experiences available to staff and interns alike at Orange County Coastkeeper. 

In addition to the educational benefits, this empirical research is also crucial to understanding  how outside factors have affected Trabuco Creek, such as the area’s removal of dams in 2011, the aftermath of the recent Holy Fire, and even Southern California’s unusually rain-heavy spring season earlier this year.

Trabuco Creek

By analyzing these factors, Coastkeeper aims to positively impact the overall health of the creek. A strong, healthy creek not only benefits the surrounding ecological system, but also bolsters recreational opportunities for local and visiting nature enthusiasts. 

Orange County Coastkeeper looks forward to continuing this research in the future! Thank you for reading, and check back to receive updates on other projects and events.

Blog written by Will Glasband for Coastkeeper