On a chilly Saturday morning, a team of seven volunteers from Loudoun Wildlife Conservancy, River Creek Confluence Park Committee, and Riverside High School’s Environmental Club gathered on the banks of the Goose Creek to conduct a stream health survey. The site, located just downstream from the Riverside Parkway bridge in Lansdowne, is home to a newly established Loudoun Wildlife stream monitoring location.
The site is also part of a larger project by the River Creek Confluence Park Committee in partnership with Loudoun Wildlife and Friends of the Shenandoah River (FOSR), which will incorporate semi-annual benthic macroinvertebrate surveys along with monthly chemical and bacterial sampling to assess the water quality of the final stretch of the Goose Creek before the confluence with the Potomac.
Karen Andersen, Laboratory and Program Director for FOSR, joined the team that morning to explain how certified citizen science volunteers use sensors for in situ stream water quality monitoring, and collect samples for chemical and bacterial testing at the FOSR’s accredited DEQ Level III lab. Karen will be training and certifying volunteers early in 2022, and then they will start water quality monitoring at Goose Creek upstream from the confluence with the Potomac.
Later that morning, as part of their certification, River Creek Confluence Park Committee volunteer Harrison Crecraft, and Riverside High School 9th grader Audrey Bowling, demonstrated their knowledge of the Virginia Save Our Streams (VA SOS) Rocky Bottom monitoring protocol and macro identification for the stream survey. VA SOS Certified Trainer Amy Ulland observed and questioned Harrison and Audrey while they conducted all aspects of the survey, from collecting and identifying macros to properly filling out the data sheet. Harrison and Audrey passed with flying colors and are now newly certified monitors with Loudoun Wildlife’s Stream Team!
The Goose Creek site received an indeterminate rating of 8 out of 12 – meaning more information is needed to understand the ecological conditions of the site. The team identified a variety of macros both sensitive to pollution (including mayflies and stoneflies) and tolerant of pollution (including scuds and netspinning caddisflies).