Home / Community Board / Featured Stories / Emery Kurth ’24 Wants To Raise Awareness About Protecting The Santa Fe River

Emery Kurth ’24 Wants To Raise Awareness About Protecting The Santa Fe River

In Prep’s AP Environmental Science course, students examine environmental problems and outcomes both in general terms and in the greater Santa Fe area, collecting data that will enhance an understanding of climate, pollution, ecology, populations, and the interface between anthropogenic and natural systems.

Senior Emery Kurth shares her summer APES research project, where she looked at water pollution along the Santa Fe River and its impact on dissolved oxygen levels that affect habitat health and quality.

“I am raising awareness about the importance of water quality and maintaining and protecting the Santa Fe River for aquatic organisms and the Santa Fe community. The Santa Fe River is a vital water source because this River helps to replenish our underground aquifer, which is especially important during this prolonged drought. It runs through the city, making it easy for the water to become polluted due to human interaction and wastewater runoff.

The key to a healthy river and healthy habitats for aquatic organisms, such as fish and macroinvertebrates, is sufficient dissolved oxygen levels. Dissolved oxygen is the measure of how much oxygen is dissolved in the water, and based on those levels, different organisms with varying oxygen tolerances will inhabit the water. Pollution can negatively impact dissolved oxygen levels in the water, so the lower the oxygen levels, the less species diversity there is, and the poorer the habitats become.

A small but critical action anyone can take is picking up trash in or near the Santa Fe River. We must keep our River clean because it is a vital water source that runs directly into the Rio Grande.”