Under the shade of some pawpaw trees on a sunny September day, certified monitor Jennifer Venable and her team set up their equipment to monitor a segment of an unnamed tributary of Limestone Branch. Located just south of Lucketts, this tributary joins Limestone Branch just before the confluence with the Potomac River.
This stream has consistently received scores indicating acceptable ecological conditions, and this survey’s score of 11 out of 12 was no different. After collecting benthic macroinvertebrates in a riffle for only 20 seconds, this first net yielded an amazing total of 341 critters.
The overwhelming majority of these macros were pollution-intolerant beetles and mayflies including flatheaded, brush legged, and small minnow mayflies. Other interesting finds included a fishfly, three tessellated darter fish and a salamander.