Take the challenge

A simple rain gauge from a soda bottle

You can measure how much rain falls by building a rain gauge you can put in your yard.

Cut the top off a plastic soda bottle.

Place some stones in the bottom of the bottle to weigh it down. Using the cutoff bottle top, turn it upside down and tape the top to the new opening of the bottle. Use a ruler and pen to make a scale in inches on the bottle.

Start measuring at the top of where the stones end in the bottom of the bottle.

After a rain shower has finished, check to see how far up the scale the water has risen, empty out the newly collected water, and reset the rain gauge for the next big winter storm.

Take a look back to 2015

Contaminated by quicksilver

Mercury, sometimes referred to as “quicksilver,” has been identified as an important contaminant in the Delta. During the Gold rush, it was used to extract gold during the ore refinement process, and much of the mercury wound up in streams. More than 160 years later, the mercury continues to spread through streams and rivers throughout the Delta. Mercury is a rare, dense metal, slightly more common than gold in the earth’s crust. In many gold mining areas where mercury was used, it is still easy to find quantities of liquid elemental mercury in sediments and stream channels. Of greater environmental concern is the presence of methylmercury, an organic form of mercury that is a potent neurotoxin.