Thursday, July 23, 2015

Working on a video on what people call sinking islands

A lot of our project this year has been setting up a video on Delta levees and subsidence. There are 57 man-made islands in the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta and to keep the rivers from flooding the islands levees have been built  to surround the islands. 

Over the years subsidence has caused the islands to look like they are sinking but that isn't what subsidence is. We interviewed two Doctors from UC Davis last week that explained to us that oxidation in the soil is causing the soil to disappear. You'll have to wait and see our video to learn more. 

There are all kinds of important research being done on levees and subsidence, including the grant we're working on here on Jersey Island. 

Below are pictures of some of the club members interviewing the docs.  

 Rezahn Abraha is interviewing Dr. Steve Dervel from Hydrofocus on subsidence and levees.
Monet Marie Kristina Gasca is interviewing Dr. Bees Butler on the economic impacts of failing levees due to subsidence.

Wednesday, July 8, 2015

July 8--Weekly Report

July 8--
Today at the DSC-AFRI Summer Science Club we talked about Subsidence and Levees and how we are going to frame questions for next week's interview sessions with the UC Davis and UC Berkeley scientists.

We are working on ideas for questions and hoping to have a few good answers from the scientists to add to our videos.

One of the professors who will be attending is an economist, Leslie Livingston, who is going to help us understand the economic ramification of keeping levees working on the Delta.

What happens to our California economy if all the levees failed and the state didn't help pay for them them?

We are also wondering a little bit about the structure of levees in the delta and how they work?

We also tested our main field soil before the we transplant the rice from the greenhouse. We did tests for phosphates, nitrogen and potassium.

Our numbers were:
Phosphates = M
Nitrogen = M
Potassium = L

Those are really good numbers to start with this year.

We also completed Green House Gas (GHG) or CO2 air sampling. We tested the everyday air we breathe at Big Break Regional Shoreline Park and then burned peat soil and measured the air (in simulation of the peat fires we often see on Delta islands.)

Our carbon (GHG) reader said the normal air was 394, but when we tested the black smoke of the peat fire air the readings were off the charts at 2,400+. That just means that all of those fires we see on the Delta islands are adding way to much GHGs into our atmosphere. From tests they've read last year out at our Learning Lab where most of the soil is peat the everyday area usually reads into the 700s.

Thanks to EB Parks intern Kyle for helping us start our fire and keep it under control. :)

Weekly Reports of the DSC-AFRI Summer Science Club Meetings

We've been behind on our posts this year. Attached you'll find our students' posts from this last few weeks.

June 17--
During this summer's program we are going to be making a few videos about the Delta. We aren't sure if we are going to get through all of them so we decided to concentrate on one video at a time. The first video is going to be on subsidence and the Delta levees.

Our plan is to make the videos no more than three to five minutes each, so we've been checking out short videos presented by other students who have done stuff like this before. We are also beginning to do the research involved in making the videos.

We're going to get to interview people from UC Davis and UC Berkeley that know about levees and subsidence in the next couple of weeks so we are setting up a list of questions for them.

June 24--
Today we watched a couple of more samples videos from students who won video awards for short videos. We also had the chance to do some research on levees so that we can come up with ideas how to make our video. We also took a tour of Big Break Regional Shoreline Park to check out the small levee system they have at the park. They have a really cool map on the ground that shows all the rivers that make up the Delta and it have a 3-D type of Mt. Diablo.

July 1--
Jersey Island Learning Lab-
Today we had the chance to see Jersey Island, which we learned is a good example of most of the Delta Islands along the Sacramento-San Joaquin River Delta. We saw the issues of subsidence. In some areas on the island the subsidence is as bad as 18th feet. We have a chance to walk along the levee and see the rock or what is known as "rip rap" that is holding the levees together.

We were able to take a lot of video and pictures to use in our video project.

Tuesday, June 16, 2015

AFRI-DSC Summer Science Club is underway

It is hard to believe that summer is already underway and we are getting ready for another planting season on the AFRI-Rice Culture Mitigation Grant. Once again we are working with a great team from UC Davis, UC Berkeley and Tetra Tech on the project and hoping that we will open young minds to the importance of research programs to better the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta, after all these children are the future of the Delta. You can read about this program by checking out the side panel of this blog. 

The AFRI-DSC Summer Science Club begins tomorrow and once we are up and running the students will be taking care of this blog and posting their thoughts, findings and giving a review of what they have been doing. The blog won't always be neat and organized, but it will be fun to see how they are enjoying and understanding the program.

We will try to get as many pictures as we can up and maybe even try to add a few minutes of our videos here and there. 

High School students are welcome to join in on the program and we always need adult volunteers to help organize and keep on eye on the students. Those interested can email for details.

Thursday, June 19, 2014

First DSC Science Club meeting Wednesday, June 25 at 11 am

Date: Wednesday, June 25, 2014
Time: 11 am
Location: Big Break Regional Shoreline Park, Oakley

Who is Invited? High School Students (including incoming 9th graders) from East Contra Costa County including Antioch, Oakley and Brentwood

What will be happening?  Students will help with on a special Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta Island student to test greenhouse gases and island subsidence. Water, soil and air testing will be conducted in the student. This program is part of a UC Davis and UC Berkeley study. Read posts in this blog for more information on this study. This is the second year for this student. 

For more information: email

Wednesday, June 4, 2014

Interesting story on carbon in the Contra Costa Times

To get a clearer understanding about Carbon Emissions and the governments race against the effects of global warming check out the story in the June 2, 2014 edition of the Contra Costa Times. California has it struggles and the study that local East County Students are developing through the Delta Science Center's AFRI grant with UC Davis and UC Berkeley will give them help in understanding what carbon emissions is all about.

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Rice is beginning to sprout and AFRI Science Club info

Just a few days into the growing process and rice is beginning to sprout in the Learning Lab greenhouse on Jersey Island. If all goes well the rice will be ready to transplant mid to late June and ready for students to begin the study at the end of June.

High school students, as well as incoming 9th graders, enrolled in Liberty High School, Freedom High School, Antioch High School and Deer Valley High School are welcome to sign up to work on the study. The program runs through the summer.

Several of the teachers who are involved with the study are offering credit in the program for the 2014-15 school year. (Please check with your school for details). Several students are also using the hours on the summer program to fill in for their volunteer credit. (Make sure that your school allows you to complete senior required volunteer hours in advance of the school year and fill out the necessary forms in advance to make sure you are able to receive credit).

The first club meeting will be announced in the second week of June however it is currently looking like it will be the week of June 23. Keep watch for details, or send your email to to be put on a mailing list for the club.

We will also be looking for student leadership for the club. Those interested should contact the above email. Club leaders will help with promotion of the club, make up club agenda and work with developing blogs for this site.