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“Mysterious and little known creatures live within reach of where you sit. Splendor awaits in minute proportions.”

- E.O. Wilson




About Monitoring
What We Monitor: The primary focus of our stream monitoring program is identifying the aquatic insects, called benthic macroinvertebrates, found in streams. The type and quantity of aquatic insects found in a stream tell a good story about the quality of water in the stream and its surrounding habitat.

When: Stream monitoring is conducted three times per year, between April and November. You can see a map of our current stream monitoring sites here.

How: Monitoring is done in teams of three or four experienced and novice monitors who follow the Virginia Save Our Streams (SOS) monitoring protocol. Monitors use collecting nets, field tables, collecting pans, and microscopes that are provided by Loudoun Wildlife Conservancy.

Team members wade into the stream and use the collecting nets to capture live aquatic insects in the riffle and pool portions of the stream. Forceps, spoons and eye droppers are used to pick the live insects from the sample. The insects are then sorted, identified, counted, and recorded on a data sheet before they are released back into the stream.

The data are transcribed to a database maintained by Loudoun Wildlife Conservancy, and are used to prepare water quality reports. Because the same stream sites are sampled year after year, we are able to report on trends in the health of our streams and the aquatic life found in them. Read more about the data here. And see the data in action as it is aggregated with other Loudoun water quality monitoring efforts here through Loudoun Watershed Watch.

Time Commitment: Three monitoring sessions per year. It takes the monitoring team approximately 3 to 4 hours to collect and identify the aquatic insects at stream-side.

Stoneflies are indicators of good water quality

Caddisflies are indicators of medium water quality
Let's monitor our water quality and learn about bugs!
To volunteer for our stream monitoring program, fill in the form below. Training is provided.
Resources for Stream
Things You Can Do for our
Local Streams:

Stream Facts and Fun:
Loudoun Stream Data:


Join a Monitoring Team!
We're glad you want to signup! All levels of experience are welcome.

Stream monitoring is a great way to get out into the field and contribute to our understanding of habitat health here in Loudoun.

We provide free training and new monitors are assigned to teams with experienced leaders.

Note: All of the above fields are required. We do not share email or address information with any organizations. This is for Loudoun Wildlife Conservancy's purposes only so we can contact you if needed.

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