By Rich Wailes, Certified Stream Monitor
Seven volunteers conducted a benthic macroinvertebrate survey and measured the sodium chloride of Broad Run in the Aldie community of Willowsford on April 15. They determined the stream’s health score was 8, indicating that ecological conditions could not be determined at this time. They found the salt level was well below acceptable levels, at a reading of less than 37 parts per million.
Certified monitor Rich Wailes guided participants including: Lightridge High School Earth and Environmental Science teacher Jenny Wolfe, her daughter Clara, Lightridge students Faun Ereb and Scott Thompson, and Willowsford residents Nora Joosten and her son Kaspar. Everyone had a chance to collect macros from the stream. Kaspar also demonstrated his knowledge of frogs by catching (and releasing) several different species.
Four nets were needed to collect the minimum of 200 macros needed for the Virginia Save Our Streams biological monitoring rocky stream bottom protocol. The participants’ first steps where to note observations about the stream’s water temperature, width, depth, flow rate, algae type and quantity, amount of shade and riffle composition. Then they chose a riffle, dropped their seine net and used a combination of rock scrubbing and substrate scraping to collect macroinvertebrates.
This stream was last monitored on October 15, 2022. It scored 9 out of 12 then, indicating acceptable ecological conditions.