Monitoring bacteria in Copeland Creek

Monitoring bacteria in Copeland Creek

Project Date
2011 to present





Project Topics

Funding Sources


Runoff from livestock farming can lead to fecal contamination of watersheds. Since 2011, Sonoma State students have collected water samples from Copeland Creek to determine the extent of fecal contamination. The upstream portion of Copeland Creek flows through an agricultural region and then continues through Sonoma State where it is joined by several outfalls. We quantified fecal contamination as most probable number (MPN) of Escherichia coli (E. coli) per 100 mL using an IDEXX Quanti-Tray/2000 system. On March 28, 2019, after a month of 7.71” rainfall, students in BIOL 338 collected samples from the upstream and downstream ends of campus. Results show a substantial increase in E. coli density samples, with levels above EPA recreational water regulatory limits, compared to typical levels. We hypothesize that the March rainfall event mobilized fecal contamination present in the upstream agricultural farms to Copeland creek and ponds located at the Sonoma State campus. 


Project Results
Title Format Download Students
"Increases in densities of the fecal indicator E. coli in Copeland Creek following a rain event" poster Michael Wickenden, Melissa Criddle
E. coli in Copeland Creek and SSU campus lakes data