Originally Posted by alexhenes
Wasn't there a study that showed Confluence being cleaner than the water in Boulder creek?
Not exactly. Though, good memory Alex! I got water samples from Confluence and Boulder Cr to test fecal coliforms in a micro class I taught a few years ago. Yes, we measured fewer fecal coliforms in the Confluence sample than in the Boulder Creek sample. (Coliforms are bacteria that indicate water contamination with feces from warm-blooded animals). But that doesn't mean that Confluence is "cleaner."
Lots of possible explanations:
-it was just one unreplicated grab sample, which really doesn't say much
-the water sample at BC could have been taken in a slow, warm, backwater that promotes coliform growth while Confluence could have been taken in a swiftly moving section
-Confluence could be so contaminated with chemicals that it is actually toxic to the coliforms
-the guy that took the coliform sample for me at Confluence could have somehow screwed up. (for example, he gave the sample to me in an antifreeze container. He said he rinsed it really well, but, still....) I didn't take the Confluence sample myself so I really can't say. And I wouldn't have chosen an old antifreeze container as a sample bottle
So, yeah,... I'd go with the NAWQA info available online.
Though it wasn't a total waste of time, my students liked looking for poop indicators in the rivers that I paddle.