Acorn Woodpecker: a bird with a large, straight beak associated with oak trees. When acorns are ripe, the bird carries an acorn to a perch, pecks off the shell, and eats the contents. To store for later use, the bird drills a hole in a tree or post of a size to fit each acorn that is gathered. Some trees hold over 10,500 acorns!

Acorn: the fruit or nut of an oak tree

Activated sludge: sludge particles produced by the growth of microorganisms in aerated tanks as a part of the activated sludge process to treat wastewater

Adaptation: an alteration or adjustment in structure or habits by which a species or individual improves its condition in relationship to its environment. The way animals change in their behavior and/or their bodies. They must fit in with the environmental conditions which occur in its habitat.

Adult: fully developed and mature; grown-up

Aeration: exposure to circulating air; adds oxygen to the wastewater and allows other gases trapped in the wastewater to escape. The first step in secondary treatment via activated sludge process.

Aerobic: oxygen is present

Alevin: a newly hatched salmon with its yolk sac still attached

Algal: relating to algae

Anadromous: describes fishes that begin life in fresh water, then go to the ocean to live, and finally return to fresh water to spawn (derived from Greek = “running upward”)

Anaerobic: oxygen is not present

Animal Signs: evidence left which proves the presence of an animal. Signs may be scat (droppings), scrapes, rubs, tracks, feathers, hair, etc.

Aquatic animal: an animal growing or living in the water

Aquatic: growing, living in, or frequenting water

Aqueduct: canals, pipelines, and tunnels that move water to where it is needed in the state

Arboreal: adapted to moving about in or among trees

Biomes: large areas or environments that share the same general climate of temperature and rainfall

Biosolids: sludge that is intended for beneficial use. Biosolids must meet certain government-specified criteria depending on its use (e.g. fertilizer or soil amendment).

Brown fat: fat that forms patches near an animal’s brain, heart, and lungs. This fat sends a quick burst of energy to warm these organs first when it is time to wake up from hibernation or torpor.

Butterfly: flying insect active by day, characterized by clubbed antennae, slender body, and broad, conspicuously-marked wings

Buttoning up: as the fry “use up” the yolk sac, as a food source, its belly closes up

California Gray Squirrel: a strong, gray, tree-dweller with a large, bushy tail living in the foothills and Yellow Pine belts of the Sierra. Feeds mostly on pine seeds and acorns

Camouflage: to conceal or disguise

Carbon cycle: natural process by which CO2 molecules move through the environment

Change: to make different in some way

Characteristic: a distinguishing feature or quality

Coagulation: the process in which raw water from terminal reservoirs is drawn into mixing basins at treatment plants where alum, polymer and sometimes lime and carbon dioxide are added. This process causes small particles to stick to one another, forming larger particles, which are more easily removed.

Coloration: the state of being colored

Community: a specific area in which certain plants and animals live and interact

Compaction: the process of packing firmly together; refers to soil which has very few
pore spaces

Compass: a handheld tool for determining direction with the help of a magnetized needle which is pointing to magnetic north

Complete metamorphosis: change during growth in insects from larvae to adulthood that includes a pupa stage. Larvae and adults generally look very different from each other. Incomplete metamorphosis: simple change during growth in insects from egg to nymph to adult. Nymphs and adults often show similarities in appearance.

Condensation: the change of vapor into a liquid

Conductivity: a measure of how well water carries an electrical current

Cone: a generally woody structure which producing seeds on most conifers

Conifer: a tree or shrub with needle-like leaves that produces seeds in cones

Controls: the man-made or natural features in the landscape upon which a control marker is placed, and which is described by a clue; the mapped features toward which you are navigating; the checkpoints on a orienteering course

Control Marker: the three-dimensional orange-and-white nylon flag used to mark the control feature

Crust: a layer from 4–25 miles thick consisting of sand and rock

Deciduous: generally said of leaves falling off naturally at the end of a growing period, or of plants that are seasonally leafless

Declination: the difference between magnetic north and geographic north

Decomposition: the process of breaking down into constituent parts or elements

Direction: the line a moving person takes: right, left, straight relative to the control or features

Disinfection: the final stage in the water treatment process in order to limit the effects of organic material, suspended solids and other contaminants. To protect against any bacteria, viruses and other microbes that might remain, a disinfectant is added before the water flows into underground reservoirs throughout the distribution system and into your home or business.

Dissolved oxygen: (often referred to as “D.O.”) the amount of oxygen gas dissolved in water

Diurnal: recurring every day

Domesticate: to adapt an animal or plant in intimate association with humans

Ecology: the study of how plants and animals live together and interact with each other in their natural surroundings

Ecosystem: describes how the plants and animals within a habitat interact with each other and with the nonliving parts of their environment

Effluent: treated wastewater leaving a treatment process or plant

Embeddedness: a measure of how much silt surrounds stream substrate. It gives an indication of the sediment load to a stream.

Environment: the combination of surrounding things, conditions, and influences that affect a given organism at any time; forces that shape a life of a population

Ephemeral stream: stream that doesn’t flow year around

Erosion: the process by which the surface of the earth is worn away by the action of water, glaciers, winds, waves, and the like

Estuary: where the fresh water of the rivers meet the salt water of the ocean

Evaporation: the change of a liquid into a vapor

Evergreen: having leaves that remain green and on the plant for more than one season and do not fall all together

Filtration: the process in which water is filtered through layers of fine, granulated materials—either sand, or sand and coal, depending on the treatment plant. As smaller, suspended particles are removed, turbidity diminishes and clear water emerges.

Food web: how plants, animals, and insects interrelate in a food chain within an ecological

Fry: baby salmon that have used up their yolk sacs and are ready to find their own food

Gall: an outgrowth or swelling on a plant (oak tree) surrounding a deposited insect egg

Gas: matter that has no shape or size of its own

Germinate: to begin to grow or sprout

Glacier: a large mass of ice and snow that doesn’t completely melt every year

Grit chamber: a chamber or tank used in primary treatment where wastewater slows down and heavy, large solids (grit) settle out and are removed

Ground water: water found underground in porous rocks and soils

Grow: to spring up or develop into maturity

Habitat: the natural home where a plant or animal finds the food, water, air, and space it needs to survive

Hibernation: a deep sleep when an animal appears to be dead because the animal’s body temperature drops to almost the same temperature as the outside and its heartbeat and breathing slow down.

Hydroelectricity: electricity generated by water

Igneous rock: formed from magma and cooled quickly above the earth’s surface or slowly below the earth’s surface

Inner core: a mass of iron with a temperature of about 7,000 degrees F

Irrigation: to supply land with water through artificial channels

Lagoons (treatment ponds): a wastewater treatment method that uses ponds to treat wastewater

Leaf: an outgrowth of the stem, generally green, often composed of a stalk (petiole), and a flat, expanded, photosynthetic area (blade)

Life cycle: the continuous sequence of changes undergone by an organism from one primary form to the development of the same form again

Liquid: matter that you can pour or that can flow

Loam: rich soil containing relatively equal proportions of sand and silt and a somewhat smaller proportion of clay

Macro invertebrates: invertebrate animals (without backbones) large enough to be observed without a microscope or other magnification

Magma: slow moving molten rock in the mantel of the earth

Magnetic north: the direction a compass needle always points

Mammal: warm-blooded animal that nourishes their young with milk secreted by mammary glands, have the skin usually covered with hair

Man-made: created by human beings

Mantle: a rock layer about 1,750 miles thick that reaches about half the distance to the center of the earth

Map: a reduced diagram of a portion of the surface of the earth

Metamorphic rock: material formed from pieces of sedimentary or igneous rock that transforms through extreme pressure and heat into a different kind of rock

Metamorphosis: change during growth

Migrate: to physically move from one region to another depending on seasons; salmon hatch in fresh water, migrate to sea, and spawners migrate back again to fresh water

Migration: the travelling to other places where the weather is warmer and/or there is more food.

Milt: sperm-filled fluid sprayed by a male fish to fertilize eggs

Mineral soil: soil comprised of small bits of rock with little or no organic material

Natural: existing in or produced by nature

Needle: a narrow, linear, often waxy, generally evergreen leaf, especially on conifers

Oak: any tree belonging to the genus Quercus, bearing the acorn as fruit

Observe: to look closely at something with the intention of describing it in detail

Organic: living or once living

Organic matter: plant and animal material in various stages of decomposition

Organism: a living thing

Outer core: a mass of molten iron about 1,425 miles deep that surrounds the solid inner core

Patterns: a natural marking or decorative design on an organism composed of elements in an arrangement. Patterns can protect (camouflage), repel, or attract other organisms.

Perennial stream: stream that flows year around

Petiole: leaf stalk which connects the leaf blade to the stem of a plant

Petroglyph: a carving on a rock

pH: the power of hydrogen; a measure of the strength of the hydrogen ion in water; a logarithmic scale measurement of H ions (H+) and hydroxide ions (OH) numbered 1–14 where <7 is acidic, 7 neutral and >7 is basic (alkaline)

Photosynthesis: the process by which green plants combine the energy from sunlight with carbon dioxide and water to make food and oxygen; the process plants use to convert sunlight energy, water, and CO2 to carbohydrates for foods and gases

Pictograph: an ancient drawing or painting on a rock

Pine nut: the edible fruit of the Pine tree. Each seed is encased in a hard shell

Pine: an evergreen tree of the genus Pinus, having needlelike leaves in bundles and woody cones which produce winged seeds

Pollution: damage done to the soil by harmful substances (litter, oil, pesticides)

Precipitation: the condensation and falling of water as rain

Primary treatment: the first stage of wastewater treatment that removes settleable or floating solids only

Redd: a nest that a female salmon or steelhead digs with her tail in the gravel and a place where her eggs are deposited

Reservoir: storage area of water for farms, homes and businesses, flood control, hydroelectricity, and recreation

Respect: to consider worthy of high regard and/or to refrain from interfering with

Riparian: situated on the bank of a river or other body of water; a zone that links terrestrial and aquatic systems

Root: underground structure of a plant, generally branched, and generally growing into the ground from the base of a stem. Roots’ functions include anchorage, absorption of water and nutrients, and food storage.

Route: path, way for passage

Salmoniod: of or belonging to the family Salmonidae, which includes salmon, trout, and whitefish

Sap: a watery juice, containing sugar and mineral salts, that circulates through the tissues of a plant

Secondary treatment: a type of wastewater treatment used to convert dissolved and suspended pollutants into a form that can be removed, producing a relatively highly treated effluent

Sedimentary rocks: weathered and eroded rocks mixed with bones and shells forming layers and cemented together through pressure

Sedimentation: the process used in both primary and secondary wastewater treatment that takes place when gravity pulls particles to the bottom of a tank

Senses: any of an animal’s or human’ functions of taste, touch, smell, hearing, and sight that allow it to examine its environment

Silt: one of the three particles of soil; larger than clay, but smaller than sand

Sludge: any solid, semisolid, or liquid waste that settles to the bottom of sedimentation tanks or septic tanks

Smolt: a young salmon that is ready to migrate to the ocean

Soil: the surface layer of earth supporting plant life

Solid: matter that has a definite shape

Source: a point of origin of a stream of water

Spawn: to lay eggs or fertilize them.

Stewardship: choices and actions to protect our environment

Stoichiometric: relating to the definite proportions and  conservation of matter and energy to chemical activity

Temperature of water: a measure of the kinetic energy of water molecules

Terrestrial: living or growing on land, not aquatic

Tertiary treatment: any level of treatment beyond secondary treatment, which could include filtration, nutrient removal (removal of nitrogen and phosphorus) and removal of toxic chemicals or metals; also called “advanced treatment” when nutrient removal is included

Texture: the tactile quality of a surface. In soil, it represents the relative amounts of gravel, sand, silt, and clay in a given soil sample.

Torpor: a type of hibernation where the animal sleeps for short periods of time. The heart rate slows down and the body temperature goes down, but the animal is able to wake up and move around for short periods.

Transpiration: the loss of water vapor by evaporation from plant structures. Water enters the plant through the roots, travels up the plant stems, and is lost through the leaves into the air.

Tree: a plant having a permanently woody stem or trunk ordinarily growing to a considerable height with branches at some distance from the ground

Tributary: a smaller stream or river that flows into another larger stream or river

Trickling filter process: a biological treatment process that uses coarse media (usually rock or plastic) contained in a tank that serves as a surface on which microbiological growth occurs. Wastewater trickles over the media and microorganisms remove the pollutants.

Turbidity: a measure of the amount of suspended particles in water

Wastewater: water that has been used for domestic or industrial use

Water cycle: the paths water takes through its various states—vapor, liquid, and solid—as it moves throughout earth’s systems (oceans, atmosphere, ground water, streams, etc.)

Water: the liquid that descends from the clouds as rain, forms stream, lakes, and seas, and is a major constituent of all living matter. It is odorless and tasteless.

Watershed: the land that serves as drainage for specific streams or rivers

Wild: living in a state of nature and not ordinarily tame or domesticated

Yolk sac: the food supply that is attached to the baby salmon when it hatches

Young: being in first or early stage of life

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