On March 6, Loudoun Wildlife and Loudoun Soil and Water Conservation District (LSWCD) joined forces to conduct the first benthic macroinvertebrate survey of the spring season at a tributary of Limestone Branch. Jennifer Venable, certified stream monitor and Educational Specialist at LSWCD; Amy Ulland, program coordinator and Virginia Save Our Streams trainer; and Pat McIlvaine, Conservation Specialist III at LSWCD, shared their stream monitoring expertise with Anthony Santos and Sharanya Maddukuri.
Anthony, a junior at Broad Run High School and the Academies of Loudoun, and Sharanya, a sophomore at Independence High School, are participants in LSWCD’s Youth Conservation Leadership Institute this year. Their projects focus on water quality, along with outreach components to bring awareness to water issues in Loudoun County. They are both in the process of becoming certified stream monitors.
Anthony and Sharanya have both successfully completed the online training and in-person field experience requirements of the Save Our Streams certification process. They will next assist with a survey on the Tuscarora Creek and demonstrate their knowledge of the Virginia Save Our Streams Rocky Bottom Monitoring Protocol to pass the final certification exam.
The stream site received an amazing score of 12 out of 12, indicating acceptable ecological conditions. The team identified a variety of pollution intolerant macros, including an abundance of mayflies and two varieties of casemaker caddisflies.