The cold and windy weather this past Sunday, March 20, didn’t deter our Stream Team from conducting a benthic macroinvertebrate survey on Tuscarora Creek at the old Westpark Golf Club. This survey also served as the final field exam component of stream monitoring certification process for Anthony Santos and Sharanya Maddukuri, high school students participating in the Youth Conservation Leadership Institute.
Anthony and Sharanya demonstrated their knowledge of the Virginia Save our Streams Rocky Bottom Monitoring protocol used by Loudoun Wildlife and their ability to identify a wide variety of macros. They correctly identified 13 different types of macros with a total tally of 281 macros, including everything from blood red midges to emerald green netspinning caddisflies. This data was then used to calculate a stream health score of 8, indicating indeterminate ecological conditions. This stream site received the same score last fall.
They also discovered an adult Northern Two-lined Salamander and the egg mass it was likely guarding on the underside of a rock in the riffle. Both the salamander and the undisturbed egg mass were gently placed back where they were found.
Anthony and Sharanya passed their exams with flying colors. We are excited to have them on our Stream Team and look forward to their assistance at future events.