Six of us went out stream monitoring today at the Phillips Farm in Waterford where the south fork of Catoctin Creek runs through. The water was 69 degrees and we had a slight breeze blowing which made it a great day to be out stream monitoring. This team is led by Helen Van Ryzin, who was certified last spring in the Virginia Save our Streams (VA SOS) protocol, which is the protocol used by Loudoun Wildlife Conservancy.
We set up our table under a nice tree, had our sorting trays all ready, and then went out into the water to collect our critters. It’s such a fun process to be involved with – after doing the collections in the net, we brought it back over to the table and the excitement begins – it feels like Christmas as we spread the net out and inspect what we caught. I was hoping for a caddisfly all wrapped up in it’s stone house but we didn’t find any of them today. We did have a significant number of net spinners, a bunch of riffle beetles, lots of mayflies, a clam, and I believe some damselfly larvae too.
I’ve posted photos to our facebook page. Anyone can come out and learn how to monitor a Loudoun stream. It’s really quite fascinating to look at the aquatic insects and understand how their presence (or lack of presence) tells the story of water quality. They’re really beautiful in their own ways with their feathery gills and interesting legs and tails. It’s a whole new world of Loudoun’s nature and environment to learn about and explore.