Loudoun Wildlife Conservancy Stream Monitoring Sites 2008-2014
Join A Stream Monitoring Team
Clean water is vital to healthy living for both people and wildlife. This means someone has to monitor not only water pumped to homes and businesses but also further up the chain – the aquatic ecosystem.
Loudoun Wildlife Conservancy established its stream monitoring in 1996 to compile data and shares it with (who, DEQ?), as do a number of other organizations. The goal is to monitor and protect the quality of Loudoun County streams that flow through woods, farms, residential communities and parks.
What We Monitor: The primary focus of our stream monitoring program is to identify benthic macroinvertebrates, which are the insects and other small creatures that live at the bottom of streams. The type and quantity of aquatic insects tell a good story about the quality of water in the stream and its surrounding habitat.
When: Stream monitoring is conducted three times per year, between April and November. You can see a map of our monitoring sites above.
How: Teams of three or four experienced and novice monitors follow the Virginia Save Our Streams (SOS) monitoring protocol. They use collecting nets, field tables, collecting pans, and microscopes provided by Loudoun Wildlife Conservancy.
Team members wade into the stream and use the nets to capture aquatic insects in the riffle and pool portions of the stream. Forceps, spoons and eye droppers are used to pick the live insects from the sample. The insects are then sorted, identified, counted, and recorded on a data sheet before they are released back into the stream.
The data are transcribed to a database maintained by Loudoun Wildlife Conservancy and are used to prepare water quality reports. Because the same stream sites are sampled year after year, we are able to report on trends in the health of our streams and the aquatic life found in them. Read more about the data here. See the data in action as it is aggregated with other Loudoun water quality monitoring efforts here through Loudoun Watershed Watch.
Time Commitment: Three monitoring sessions per year. It takes the monitoring team approximately 3-4 hours to collect and identify the aquatic insects at stream-side.
To join a team, sign up below!
Sign Up to Join a Stream Monitoring Team
We’re glad you want to sign up! All levels of experience are welcome.
Stream monitoring is a great way to get out into the field and contribute to our understanding of habitat health here in Loudoun. We provide free training and new monitors are assigned to teams with experienced leaders.
- DISCOVER: Programs and Field Trips
- EXPLORE: Citizen Science
- RESTORE: Habitat Restoration
- PROTECT: Conservation Advocacy