USA Volunteer Water Monitoring Network

Macroinvertebrate Monitoring

| 0 comments

Spanish Materials

Question 1: Does anyone who developed a program having volunteers enter data online and possibly identifying macroinvertebrates in the field have any comments or suggestions that may be helpful.

Question 2: Is there a good basic key out there for BMI identification?

Announcement 1: Recently, we developed an Interactive Verification Program to complement the spiral bound identification manual for Citizen Volunteers.

Announcement 2:New on the WV Save Our Streams web page is a “Field Guide to Aquatic Invertebrates”.

Question 3: I am looking for crisp black and white images of macroinvertebrates and  suggestions about benthic macroinvertebrates or biological monitoring websites.

Question 4: What are some of the methods used to safely do a stream bioassessment in a stream that’s only 15 or 18 inches wide?

Question 5: Does anyone happen to know a supplier/distributor for ethanol to be used for macroinvertebrate preservation?

Question 6: Can you please share your favorite online macro identification tools?

Question 1

Date: Mon, 08 Sep 2008
From: “Weglein, Sara”

Greetings all,

I am with the MD Department of Natural Resources volunteer stream sampling program, Stream Waders. We are looking to make some changes to our program such as having volunteers enter data online and possibly identifying macroinvertebrates in the field. I was just wondering if anyone who had such programs in place had any comments or suggestions that may be helpful.
Thank you!

Sara Weglein
MD Dept. of Natural Resources
RAS – MANTA

Responses to Question 1

Date: Mon, 08 Sep 2008 10:19:01 -0700
From: Sandy Derby

Hello Sara,
Just thinking some of what I have online might be helpful to you– and interesting. Our BioSITE Program, curricula, and data can be viewed online (actually, the data is not updated yet so more will come..) Let me know if you have any questions–

S
Sandra Derby
Environmental Education Manager
BioSITE Program Director
Children’s Discovery Museum
180 Woz Way, San Jose CA. 95110
w408.298-5437 x261
f408.298-6826

 

Date: Mon, 08 Sep 2008
From: Eleanor Ely

Sara,

Are you familiar with the Summer 2005 issue of The Volunteer Monitor newsletter? It profiles a number of macroinvertebrate monitoring programs and hopefully will give you some ideas about the different possible approaches. See www.epa.gov/owow/volunteer/vm_index.html.

I believe online data entry by volunteers is getting more and more common. One good example is Alabama Water Watch (https://aww.auburn.edu/).

Good luck with your program!

Ellie

Eleanor Ely
Editor, The Volunteer Monitor Newsletter
50 Benton Avenue
San Francisco, CA 94112

 

Date: Mon, 08 Sep 2008 16:35:01 -0400
From: Jo Latimore
Subject: RE: [volmonitor] MD Stream Waders

Hi Sara,

Here in Michigan we’ve had mixed results in asking volunteers to enter their data online. The Michigan Clean Water Corps (www.micorps.net) set up an online database a few years ago for both stream and lake monitoring data. We handle stream and lake monitoring a little differently, based on program history. Our lake program has been functioning in one form or another since the 70s, with some monitoring done by lake associations, and some by individuals. They pay a small fee to participate, to (almost) cover the cost of equipment and lab analysis. In general, our lake volunteers have been resistant to entering their own data online. Some say that they don’t want to do more work, and others are uncomfortable with computers. We initially hoped to make volunteer data entry required, but so many were opposed that we have abandoned that hope and do much of it ourselves.

Our stream monitors are all organized within their own groups (watershed councils, conservation groups, etc.). The statewide stream monitoring program is relatively young, compared to the lake program, and so are the folks involved. Computer literacy can be assumed, and when groups join the stream program, we require that they enter their own data – and these groups are fine with that. Since they are already organized into groups, they already have plans to use their data for stream/watershed protection, and want their data in electronic form anyway. Our online database allows volunteers to enter their data and then download a copy for themselves in Excel format, so we essentially save them from having to design their own database. We also offer groups an alternative – if they already have their own database they use, they can just send us a copy of their electronic data, and we import it into our database.

Regarding field ID of macroinvertebrates, I’d give the handy answer, “It depends.” It depends on the level of taxonomic resolution. Order-level IDs by volunteers in the field are certainly possible, with training. I’ve found that often, though, volunteers – especially new ones – aren’t always comfortable with that level of responsibility. You’ll want to have a Quality Control plan in place to check ID’s, and make sure the volunteers know that, so they don’t worry quite as much about getting one or two
wrong. I’d also recommend providing a way for them to turn in bugs that they are unsure of – a “mystery jar” of sorts. One big upside of field ID is that the volunteers know the result of their search right away. If you’re looking for family-level ID, though, I’d steer clear of field ID. Even the pros (myself included) don’t have the best track record with that.

On the other hand, at my previous job at the Huron River Watershed Council in Ann Arbor (www.hrwc.org), we found a way to involve volunteers in identifying bugs at a separate indoor event – described in the issue of the Volunteer Monitor that Ellie mentioned. This type of event may not be feasible at a statewide scale, but your individual watershed groups might try it. The Michigan Clean Water Corps permits field or lab ID of bugs, as long as there’s a QC plan in place to check those IDs.

Good questions! I’m sure others have other perspectives…

-Jo

Jo A. Latimore, Ph.D.
Lake, Stream, & Watershed Outreach
Department of Fisheries and Wildlife
Michigan State University
13 Natural Resources
East Lansing, MI 48824-1222
(517) 432-1491
latimor1@msu.edu

 

Date: Mon, 08 Sep 2008 22:30:11 -0500
From: Kris Stepenuck
Subject: Re: [volmonitor] MD Stream Waders

Hi Sara

We have a fact sheet about online databases (as well as other types of databases) with links to numerous volunteer monitoring programs’ databases within it. It also includes tips from program coordinators across the country who replied to a request for feedback to share with others about planning and implementing such databases. Here’s a link to the fact sheet:
http://www.usawaterquality.org/volunteer/Outreach/Databases.pdf

There are also some relevant discussions from this listserv posted at:
http://www.usawaterquality.org/volunteer/Special/EPAListserv/index.html Scroll down to online databases – there are two discussions there that seem relevant.

Third, we also did a survey of volunteer monitoring programs across the country about their online databases. We used the information we learned in the fact sheet noted above, but results of the survey itself are also posted online. They’re available at:
http://www.usawaterquality.org/volunteer/DataReporting/index.html

Hopefully these will be of help to you.

As for identifying macroinvertebrates in the field. To what level? We have volunteers ID to order level on a regular basis (see our methods:
http://watermonitoring.uwex.edu/wav/monitoring/methods.html – choose biotic index, and data sheets:
http://watermonitoring.uwex.edu/wav/monitoring/sheets.html. But you may mean to family level?

Sincerely,

Kris Stepenuck

 

Date: Tue, 09 Sep 2008 08:52:49 -0400
From: Debra Gutenson
Subject: Re: [volmonitor] MD Stream Waders

Sara,

You may wish to contact Stacey Brown ( coordinator of VA SOS) re’ our volunteer monitoring and data reporting efforts in VA. This is an all volunteer statewide program, not run by any state agency.

Email : Stacey@vasos.org

Otto Gutenson ( OW, EPA- retired)

Question 2

Date: Mon, 03 Mar 2008 11:00:37 -0500
From: Mary Hegarty
Subject: Re: [CSREESVolMon] Good key for BMI?

Hi all,
Is there a good basic key out there for BMI identification?
We are looking for a basic one that shows the actual tiny size of the critters, color and how they move (how they look alive in the pan) and other easy ID features, that one can see with the eye or magnified glass (not how they look under a microscope). We want an ID key for alive specimens.

Any help- would be great.
Thanks,
Mary Hegarty

Mary Hegarty
Environmental Management Assistant

Rockland County
Division of Environmental Resources &
Soil and Water Conservation District
50 Sanatorium Rd., Bldg. P
Pomona, NY 10970
845-364-2669
(fax) 845-364-2671
www.rocklandgov.com

Responses to Question 2

Kris Stepenuck 4/4/2008 4:21 PM
Hi Mary

I’m not sure if you got replies on this? Anyhow, we have a key, but it’s
not fully what you describe. There are descriptions by the drawings about
how the orgs. move and what color they are, but it’s not in color. Here’s
a link to it: http://watermonitoring.uwex.edu/pdf/level1/riverkey.pdf

We also have a booklet that goes along with it. I can send you a copy if
you like what it looks like. You can check it out online at:
http://watermonitoring.uwex.edu/pdf/level1/WWWC.pdf

I’d be curious about other replies you may have received as well which I
can post on our listserv archives.

Thanks!

Kris

 

>>> Barbara Liukkonen 3/3/2008 11:56 AM >>>
Mary

Here’s a nice online version – mostly photographs, but nice
identification tips.
http://midge.cfans.umn.edu/

You can also view, and download, our print Guide to BMI in the Midwest.
See the link on the same page.

Barb Liukkonen
Water Resources Center, O of MN
173 McNeal Hall
1985 Buford Ave
St. Paul, MN 55108
liukk001@umn.edu

 

Date: Thu, 10 Apr 2008 11:06:32 -0400
From: Mary Hegarty
Subject: Fwd: Re: [CSREESVolMon] Good key for BMI?

>>> 3/3/2008 12:28 PM >>>
Hello Mary,

We have a citizen volunteer stream monitoring program here in Monroe
County….although it is somewhat dormant at the moment (i.e. budget cuts).
I have attached a copy of the Participants Manual….which includes an ID
card for BMIs….though it is not a key. It may be of interest. What sort
of program do you have in Rockland County for stream monitoring?

Thanks,
Todd

See attached file: CWW Participants Manual Updated 2004.pdf (2.5 MB pdf file)

 

>>> “Smolen, Michael” 3/3/2008 2:23 PM >>>
Dear Mary,
The following was supplied by Anndrea Navesky.
Mike Smolen

Michael D. Smolen
Professor and Water Quality Coordinator
218 Ag Hall
Oklahoma State University
Stillwater, OK 74078-6021
Phone: 405-744-8414
FAX: 405-744-6059
http://waterquality.okstate.edu
——————-

From: Navesky, Anndrea N
Sent: Monday, March 03, 2008 12:46 PM
To: csreesvolmon-bounces@lists.uwex.edu
Subject: Good key for BMI’s

Your e-mail was passed on to me with a suggestion to give you a link to
some basic ID cards for BMI. This site (if you haven’t already been
there) puts out free information for teachers, or anyone else that wants
to use the materials.

There are a few other things under their website that you may find
useful as well. They don’t have anything showing how these insects move
in the water, but this is one of the best basic ID cards I’ve come
across in my searches. They talk about how the inverts move, but
nothing too great in detail. I’ve printed these off two to a page and
laminated them to take into the field for the people I’m instructing.
It works pretty well.

Good luck!

Anndrea Navesky
Oklahoma State University
Department of Entomology
127 Noble Research Center
Stillwater, OK 74078

Office (405) 744-5303
Fax (405) 744-6039

Announcement 1

From: Leonard C. Ferrington Jr., Ph.D. [mailto:ferri016@tc.umn.edu]
Sent: Wednesday, January 31, 2007 3:11 PM
To: Volunteer Monitoring List Serve Members
Subject: New On-line resource for Citizen Volunteer Monitoring Programs.

I would like to take this opportunity to tell you about a new on-line resource for Citizen Volunteer Monitoring Programs, and to ask for your assistance in helping us notify and advertise it to appropriate groups that may be involved in water quality monitoring efforts throughout the United States.

A couple of years ago we published a spiral bound identification guide to help Citizen Volunteers perform accurate identifications of invertebrates collected as part of their volunteer water quality monitoring efforts. To date more than 2000 copies have been disseminated, and many additional copies have been downloaded from our on-line access site. This manual has been an astonishing success, and has facilitated improved accuracy of identifications by citizens who volunteer their personal time to help our collective efforts to improve water resources in our state. Information about the manual can be located online at:

http://midge.cfans.umn.edu/

Recently, we developed an Interactive Verification Program to complement the spiral bound manual, and allow citizens to check the accuracy of their own identifications. We refer to the software as VSM-IVP, and it can be accessed online.

I would like to request that you help us in advertising this on-line VSM-IVP resource by telling your constituents about it. The software went on-line in early December and several states are evaluating it for use in their respective citizen volunteer programs. For instance, West Virginia has already provided links to our software on their official state web pages for water quality programs, and towns in Maryland have asked us for permission to endorse it as part of their local programs. Although the software was
originally designed for use in Minnesota, we are very excited about this early trend in national use of our software, and hope that you will assist us in notifying other potential user groups.

Sincerely,

Leonard Ferrington

Leonard C. Ferrington Jr., Ph.D.
Professor, Department of Entomology
University of Minnesota
219 Hodson Hall, 1980 Folwell Avenue
Saint Paul, Minnesota USA 55108-6125
TELEPHONE: (612) 624-3265
FAX: (612) 625-5299

Announcement 2

Date: Thu, 18 Jan 2007 08:06:55 -0500
From: Tim Craddock
Subject: [CSREESVolMon] New aquatic invertebrate field guide on the WV Save Our
Streams web page

New on the WV Save Our Streams web page is a “Field Guide to Aquatic Invertebrates”. This PDF file uses illustrations and Internet links to familiarize the user with commonly encountered families of aquatic invertebrates. The illustrations are from the “Guide to Macroinvertebrates of the Upper Midwest” and are used with permission from the University of Minnesota.

Timothy Craddock, Citizens Monitoring Coordinator
West Virginia Save Our Streams Program
601 57th Street, SE
Charleston, WV 25304

Office: 304-926-0499 (1040)
Mobile: 304-389-7630
E-mail: tcraddock@wvdep.org

Question 3

Date: Wed, 24 May 2006 23:40:23 -0400
From: “Joanna A. Cornell”
Subject: [volmonitor] Crisp images of macroinvertebrates

Hello Everyone,

I am looking for crisp black and white images of macroinvertebrates. They need to remain crisp after photocopying by teachers. These will be used by a large school system, so the images can not be copyrighted.

I will also take this opportunity to ask for suggestions about excellent benthic macroinvertebrates or biological monitoring websites. There are a number that I like to recommend, but I’m sure there are many that I have not yet discovered.

Looking forward to your replies,

Joanna

Joanna A. Cornell
Watershed Specialist
Northern Virginia Soil and Water Conservation District
12055 Government Center Parkway, Suite 905
Fairfax, VA 22035
http://www.fairfaxcounty.gov/NVSWCD
joanna.cornell@fairfaxcounty.gov
703-324-1425 (w)
703-324-1421 (f)

And a related question (combined anwers are provided below):

Date: Mon, 18 Jun 2007 09:50:14 -0400
From: “Joanna A. Cornell”
Subject: [volmonitor] Looking for images of benthic macroinvertebrates – for flashcards

Hello Everyone,

I am looking for high-resolution drawings of benthic macroinvertebrates that I could use for flashcards for our stream monitors. Our monitoring program uses the VASOS protocol, but we can’t use the images for any other purposes besides our ID cards and data cards. I’m happy to share the flashcards.

Thanks in advance,

Joanna

———————–

Joanna A. Cornell, Ph.D.

Watershed Specialist

Northern Virginia Soil and Water Conservation District

12055 Government Center Parkway, Suite 905 Fairfax, VA 22035

http://www.fairfaxcounty.gov/NVSWCD

joanna.cornell@fairfaxcounty.gov

703.324.1425 (w)

703.324.1421 (f)

Responses to Question 3

Date: Thu, 25 May 2006 07:28:26 -0700
From: HANSON Steve
Subject: RE: [volmonitor] Crisp images of macroinvertebrates

The Xerces page is good (http://www.xerces.org/). They have good aquatic pages.

Steve Hanson
Volunteer Monitoring Specialist
Oregon DEQ Laboratory

Date: Thu, 25 May 2006 09:35:48 -0500
From: Irwin Polls
Subject: RE: [volmonitor] Crisp images of macroinvertebrates

JOANNA:

I would suggest you look at the website for the North American Benthological Society (www.benthos.org). The education and outreach section has slide shows of benthic macroinvertebrates.

IRWIN

Irwin Polls
ECOLOGICAL MONITORING AND ASSESSMENT

 

Date: Thu, 25 May 2006 13:35:25 -0700
From: Erick Burres
Subject: RE: [volmonitor] Crisp images of macroinvertebrates

Joanna,

Feel you can find images within the California Streamside Biosurvey.
http://www.waterboards.ca.gov/nps/docs/cwtguidance/351bsurvey.doc – 2515.5KB – Water Resources Control Board

Erick Burres
Citizen Monitoring Coordinator
SWRCB- Clean Water Team

 

Date: Mon, 18 Jun 2007 09:56:22 -0500
From: “Miles, Karen”
Subject: RE: [volmonitor] Looking for images of benthic macroinvertebrates –
for flashcards
To: Volunteer water monitoring

If you want photos of them, the EPA has some at:

http://www.epa.gov/bioiweb1/html/benthosclean.html

Karen Miles

 

Date: Mon, 18 Jun 2007 11:07:27 -0400
From: David Kirschtel
Subject: Re: [volmonitor] Looking for images of benthic macroinvertebrates –
for flashcards

There are a number of relevant keys with line drawings listed at the EPA website “Biological Indicators of Watershed Health”: http://www.epa.gov/bioiweb1/html/benthosclean.html

In particular: Family-Level Key to the Stream Invertebrates of Maryland and
Surrounding Areas – MD-DNR

Guide to Aquatic Invertebrates – West Virginia Department of
Environmental Protection

Given that most of these are produced by state/local governments I expect that it would relatively easy to get permission, if any is needed at all, to reproduce the images.

Hope this helps,

David
======================================================================== ========
David Kirschtel, Ph.D.
National Ecological Observatory Network – National Project Office
1444 I St, NW, #200 – Washington, DC 20005
email: kirschte@msu.edu – dkirschtel@neoninc.org
tel: 202.628.1500×240

 

Date: Mon, 18 Jun 2007 10:46:52 -0500
From: “Leonard C. Ferrington Jr., Ph.D.”
Subject: Re: [volmonitor] Looking for images of benthic macroinvertebrates –
for flashcards

Greetings Joanna and othe Volunteers,

We prepared an identification guide for Citizen Volunteers that has more than 200 high quality line drawings that might be of the type that you are seeking. The guide can be found on-line at www.entomology.umn.edu/ Mr. Will Bouchard made all the drawings.

I would recommend that you look at the drawings and determine if they are the type that will suite your needs. If they are, then please contact me and we can determine how to send high resolution copies for you to use.

We also have compiled verification software that has high resolution digital images and is available on-line at: http://midge.cfans.umn.edu/

Sincerely,

Len Ferrington

Leonard C. Ferrington Jr., Ph.D.
Professor, Department of Entomology
University of Minnesota
219 Hodson Hall, 1980 Folwell Avenue
Saint Paul, Minnesota USA 55108-6125
TELEPHONE: (612) 624-3265
FAX: (612) 625-5299

 

Date: Mon, 18 Jun 2007 09:51:00 -0700
From: Eleanor Ely
Subject: RE: [volmonitor] Looking for images of benthic macroinvertebrates – for flashcards

There is wonderful macroinvertebrate artwork, more three-dimensional and lifelike than the typical drawings found in identification keys, in the manual “Measuring the Health of California Streams and Rivers” by Jim Harrington and Monique Born. The illustrations are by Peter Ode and you can see one of them on the cover of the Summer 2005 issue of The Volunteer Monitor (www.epa.gov/owow/volunteer/vm_index.html) and another on page 20 of the same issue, in the left-hand column. I’m not sure how available these are for others to use, but if they look suitable for your purposes you can get more information by contacting Jim Harrington at slsi@cwnet.com.

In the same issue, the list of resources on pages 20-21 includes a number of guides and keys with illustrations, both drawings and photos. Some of these illustrations might be available to you.

Ellie

Eleanor Ely

Editor, The Volunteer Monitor Newsletter

50 Benton Avenue

San Francisco, CA 94112

 

Date: Mon, 18 Jun 2007 14:44:37 -0400
From: “Schenk, Ann”
Subject: RE: [volmonitor] Looking for images of benthic macroinvertebrates – for flashcards
To: Volunteer water monitoring
Reply-to: Volunteer water monitoring
Thread-topic: [volmonitor] Looking for images of benthic macroinvertebrates – for flashcards

There are a few Merrit and Cummins illustrations used in our”Family-Level Key to the Stream Invertebrates of Maryland and Surrounding Areas” that we had to get specific permission to use for
this publication only. Please do NOT use those marked illustrations.

If there are any other images in that publication you wish to use, I have higher resolution files than are in the web version of the document. It would be nice to give appropriate credit for any of our images.

Ann Schenk
Natural Resource Biologist III
Maryland Department of Natural Resources
580 Taylor Ave., C-2
Annapolis, MD 21401
phone: 410-260-8609

 

Date: Mon, 18 Jun 2007 15:03:55 -0500
From: Kris Stepenuck
Subject: RE: [volmonitor] Looking for images of benthic macroinvertebrates –
for flashcards

Hi Joanna and all-

Wisconsin also has some line drawings of aquatic macroinvertebrates available through our clip art collection at: http://clean-water.uwex.edu/pubs/clipart/critters.pond.htm or http://clean-water.uwex.edu/pubs/clipart/critters.riv.htm.

Cheers,

Kris Stepenuck

Question 4

Date: Tue, 20 Dec 2005 15:00:19 -0500
From: Rita Jack
Subject: [volmonitor] bugs in tiny little streams – how to not harm a stream?

Hello Vol Mons,
I have a study area in a still-pretty-wild part of Michigan’s Upper Peninsula, in the Yellow Dog Plains, where the streams are the cleanest I’ve ever seen. (It’s not unusual to see specific conductivity readings that are less than 40 uS.) The project is geared to collect baseline water quality data prior to sulfide mining permit applications, to help support decision-making and public comment-ability. We began the Yellow Dog Plains study over 18 months ago.
Some of the streams that we work on are literally only 15 or 18 inches wide. Some of our volunteers are very concerned that going in to do a bug survey twice a year could potentially wipe out some sensitive and/or rare organisms.
What are some of the methods used in other areas to safely do a stream bioassessment in a stream that’s only 15 or 18 inches wide?
~Rita
>>
Rita Jack
Water Sentinels Project
Sierra Club Mackinac Chapter
109 E. Grand River Ave.
Lansing, Michigan 48906
tel: 517-484-2372
www.michigan.sierraclub.org
www.sierraclub.org/watersentinels

Responses to Question 4

Date: Tue, 20 Dec 2005 13:07:25 -0700
From: “Horn, Barb”
Subject: RE: [volmonitor] bugs in tiny little streams – how to not harm a
stream?

There is a methodology that is similar to electroshocking fish that can be applied to macroinvertebrate sampling, the bugs recover and can be placed back into the river, identification has to occur in a timely manner and the bugs kept in a supportive environment–unless bugs id needs to involve dissection, the bugs all live.–might depend upon level of id needed. The upfront cost is that of the generator and probes-about $5000 –but will last a long, long time. If you want more information I can connect you. Studies have been performed comparing this method w/ traditional collection methods and for the usual list of metrics the method is valid.

Barb Horn
Biologist, Colorado Division of Wildlife
151 E. 16th Ave., Durango, CO 81301
vc: 970/382-6667 fx: 970/247-4785

 

Date: Tue, 20 Dec 2005 21:26:49 -0500 (EST)
From: boram@wilkes.edu
Subject: RE: [volmonitor] bugs in tiny little streams – how to not harm a stream?

It is important to note that the very low conductivity of the stream may
limit the capability of this or any other electrode method.

Brian Oram
Wilkes University
http://www.water-research.net

 

Date: Wed, 21 Dec 2005 10:22:16 -0500
From: Chris Sullivan
Subject: Re: [volmonitor] bugs in tiny little streams – how to not harm a stream?

What taxonomic level are you IDing your macros to? If only to family you should be able to do 90% of the critters on site in trays of water and simply return the critters that day. I know I have taken samples stored them overnite in the fridge with a bubbler for town fair table for kids etc and the majority of the critters make it to the net day and their return to the sample site.

Of course if you ID to genus or species this probably wont work, since counting the number of ocelli on a perlidae or any other smaller details will be next to impossible with the critters wiggling around your petri dish.

good luck

peace
Chris

Chris Sullivan
Project SEARCH Coordinator
(203) 734-2513
FAX 203-922-7833
Center for Environmental Research Education
Kellogg Environmental Center
500 Hawthorne Ave
Derby, CT 06418

 

Date: Wed, 21 Dec 2005 17:17:23 +0000
From: Ronald Wierenga
Subject: re:[volmonitor] bugs in tiny little streams – how to not harm a stream?

Rita,
I think one of the more significant impacts to the stream is from disturbing the substrate while collecting the sample. Using atrificial substrate, such as rock baskets or plates, would help minimize your footprint on the system and still provide usefull information, although not always comparable. River Network’s Living Waters by Geoff Dates is a good reference for using artificial substrate. Check with your state’s biomonitoring group for comparability issues. The bug population should be able to take the loss of a few organisms. Good luck, sounds like a fun project.

Ron Wierenga
Water Resources Program
Clark County Vancouver WA 98666-9810
360-397-6118 x4264

 

Date: Wed, 21 Dec 2005 12:36:53 -0500
From: Danielle Donkersloot
Subject: Re: [volmonitor] bugs in tiny little streams – how to not harm a stream?

I did respond to the original email, stating that NJ volunteers will either collect and return to the same stream or preserve. It depends on the purpose of the monitoring project and the level of rigor they need
to achieve. I am always unsure of keeping the samples over night in some-kind of live well. My concern is that you are keeping a lot of organisms in one bucket, so would the carnivores of the sample have a field day eating the others? I tend to think of if as an All-You-Can-Eat-Buffet for them.
What are your thoughts?

 

Date: Wed, 21 Dec 2005 13:34:29 -0500
From: Jenny Birnbaum
Subject: RE: [volmonitor] bugs in tiny little streams – how to not harm a stream?

I definitely agree with Danielle’s concerns- when I was a grad student collecting benthic macroinvertebrate samples, we occasionally observed predation in the sample even before the insects succumbed (the insects in these samples were sacrificed). Additionally, at one point I raised a
dragonfly larva for an entomology class, and I kept it in a tank with mayflies, damselflies and even mosquitofish to sustain it… so keeping live organisms all together over night is definitely an all-you-can-eat buffet!

Jenny Birnbaum
Mystic Monitoring Network Director
Mystic River Watershed Association
20 Academy St., Suite 203
Arlington, MA 02476
(781) 316-3438
jenny@mysticriver.org
www.mysticriver.org

 

Date: Fri, 30 Dec 2005 15:12:28 -0800
From: Eleanor Ely
Subject: RE: [volmonitor] bugs in tiny little streams – how to not harm a stream?

Greetings — just returned from vacation to find this discussion. I wanted to mention an article in the Summer 2005 issue of The Volunteer Monitor titled “Catch-and-Release Bioassessment” (pages 14-15) — it contains several recommendations for gentle handling of insects to maximize their survival.
Ellie
Eleanor Ely
Editor, The Volunteer Monitor Newsletter
50 Benton Avenue
San Francisco, CA 94112

 

Date: Tue, 03 Jan 2006 11:03:44 -0500
From: Ginger North
Subject: RE: [volmonitor] bugs in tiny little streams – how to not harm a stream?

I, too, just got back from vacation to read about this issue. I was interested in all the various testing methods that different volunteer groups use per the Volunteer Monitoring issue that Ellie mentioned. I also heard about various methods at the Region III EPA conference in West Virginia and read couple of articles describing specific methods used by volunteer groups collecting data for government agencies. It seems that there is a huge variety in methodology and I hope that a discussion comparing the various methods might be considered at the National Water Monitoring Conference in May.
We have used a modified version of the Stroud Water Research methodology which involves perserving the collected organisms, but when studying very small first order streams we, too, are concerned that we are compromising the balance of the stream life. I am interested in hearing about other options that still give useful data.

Ginger North
Stream Watch Coordinator
Delaware Nature Society
302-239-2334×100
Fax 302-239-2473
ginger@delawarenaturesociety.org
www.delawarenaturesociety.org

 

Date: Tue, 03 Jan 2006 09:59:20 -0700
From: “Horn, Barb”
Subject: RE: [volmonitor] bugs in tiny little streams – how to not harm a stream?

Can’t have a discussion on method comparison w/out bringing in data objectives, study purpose/goals….there are a variety of methods for technical and waterbody differences reasons but also becuase different data objectives exist…..a valuable discussion would be to discuss the pro’/con’s w/ /the variety of methods to achieve the same goals/purpose/data objective….

Barb Horn
Biologist, Colorado Division of Wildlife
151 E. 16th Ave., Durango, CO 81301
vc: 970/382-6667 fx: 970/247-4785

 

Date: Tue, 03 Jan 2006 15:21:06 -0500
From: Joan Martin
Subject: RE: [volmonitor] bugs in tiny little streams – how to not harm a stream?

What an excellent point, Barb. The challenge for us is that volunteer monitoring groups have to demonstrate their ability to correctly collect and identify the macroinvertebrates, so catch and release doesn’t verify their identification. I would like to see suggestions that cover this need.
Thanks,
-Joan
(734) 769-5123, X.11

 

Date: Tue, 03 Jan 2006 15:38:13 -0500
From: Rita Jack
Subject: RE: [volmonitor] bugs in tiny little streams – how to not harm a stream?

Friends – I’m grateful for the continuation of this thread after the week away from the office and email, and I echo Joan’s point below.
Is one solution to have the volunteers identify and count everything, and then to keep and preserve one of each different kind to verify the id’s? I’ve heard of some groups who send teams to all their sites, and then they gather together at the end to identify and count, perhaps in a lab with microscopes – and then release all the still-living critters back to a convenient local stream. This, however, greatly concerns me because of the potential for moving exotic aquatics around a watershed. Yikes!
-Rita
>>
Rita Jack
Water Sentinels Project, Sierra Club Mackinac Chapter
tel: 517-484-2372

 

Date: Tue, 03 Jan 2006 16:04:27 -0500
From: Mayio.Alice@epamail.epa.gov
Subject: [volmonitor] bugs in tiny little streams

The information below might be of general interest to those of you pursuing this topic — it comes from Ed Rankin of the Midwest Biodiversity Institute (and formerly of Ohio EPA).

–Alice Mayio

Ohio EPA has a website dedicated to very small (“primary”) headwater streams, generally less than 1 sq mi in drainage. They have detailed sampling protocols and a number of nice publications dealing with these streams that can be downloaded. The Web site is:

http://epa.ohio.gov/dsw/wqs/headwaters/index.aspx

Most of this generated out of their NE district office. Their methodology looks at macroinvertebrates, amphibians, and habitat. They do offer periodic training in this methdology in Ohio. As for the fear of oversampling, I think that should be minimal for several reasons. First, at best a macro sample would capture only a fraction of what is any reach of stream. Second, the biota of headwater streams especially, is adapted to various “natural” disturbances such as storms, winter ice, etc that result in relatively rapid recovery after a distrubance as long as the “natural infrastructure” (i.e., habitat, etc) is intact.

 

Date: Tue, 03 Jan 2006 16:18:59 -0500
From: Geoff Dates
Subject: Re: [volmonitor] bugs in tiny little streams – how to not harm a stream?

As Barb implies: the answer is . . . it depends.

Returning the critters to the stream will limit what you can do with the sample. That will affect your results, the type of metrics you can use, and quite possibly the use of your data. The basic question comes down to will the limits of an all-field approach limit the usefulness of the results?

If the impacts (or impairments) are obvious (e.g. nothing but worms and midges), then higher taxonomic level (family, or maybe even orders) field taxonomy is fine.

In most cases, the more taxonomy you do, the more information you get. Many of the data analyses (aka “metrics”) used become more meaningful. As anyone knows who’s tried it, field identification below family is VERY difficult (even family identification is difficult for some taxa). It’s particularly difficult when the organisms are small.

Once you throw the sample back, you’ve lost the ability to:

know for sure if you’ve misidentified something
do further taxonomy
quality check your results

Several options:

for your first collection, get samples from each site and preserve everything. Build a reference collection from these samples.
Videotape (under magnification) each organism that goes into your voucher collection while it is still alive. Movement is often an important clue.
each time you collect, preserve one of each type of organism, to the best of your ability.
bring the live samples back to the lab and use some sort of aquarium to keep them alive while you identify them under high magnification. Bring them back to where you collected them, if possible.

Thanks for raising the question.

Geoff Dates

River Watch Program Director
River Network
Home Office:
231 24D Heritage Condos
Woodstock, VT 05091
802-457-9808 w & h
email: gdates@rivernetwork.org
River Network Web Site: www.rivernetwork.org

Question 5

From: “J. Kelly Nolan, EST Coordinator”
Subject: [volmonitor] Preservative
To: VOLMONITOR

Hello- Does anyone happen to know a supplier/distributor for ethanol to be used for macroinvertebrate preservation? We would like to stop using denatured alcohol as it fumes quickly overpower our sampling identification sessions.

Regards,
J. Kelly Nolan
Capital Region Coordinator
Hudson Basin River Watch

Responses to Question 5

From: Kevin_Smith@B-F.com
Subject: [volmonitor] Re: Preservative
To: VOLMONITOR

Although it is a more expensive option and if you only need small amounts, you can use Everclear Brand spirit from your local liquor store. It is 95% ethanol and can be cut to the appropriate percentage for your needs. This will be “tax paid” and (legally) side-steps any of the regulatory requirements of purchasing ethanol for scientific purposes. You could also use vodka but this can generally only be found at concentrations of 50% ethanol or less which may not be sufficient for preservation.
Is your organization is working in association with a local University’s science department that is already authorized to purchase lab grade ethanol. They may be willing to provide limited quantities for your macroinvertebrate sampling.

Kevin Smith

 Question 6

From: “Vastine, Julie”
To: Volunteer water monitoring
Sent: Wednesday, March 6, 2013 1:20 PM
Subject: [volmonitor] Online macroinvertebrate identification tools

Hello:

Can you please share your favorite online macro identification tools?  We are trying to add to our reference list for Pennsylvania volunteers.

Thank you!
Julie

–Julie Vastine, Director
Alliance for Aquatic Resource Monitoring (ALLARM)
Dickinson College – Environmental Studies Dept.
phone: 717.245.1135  fax: 717.245.1971
www.dickinson.edu/allarm

Responses to Question 6

From: Kelly Stettner
Date: Wed, Mar 6, 2013 at 12:31 PM
Subject: [volmonitor] Online macroinvertebrate identification tools

Here’s my favorite online tool for “bug hunts”:
http://people.virginia.edu/~sos-iwla/Stream-Study/Key/MacroKeyIntro.HTML
Black River Action Team (BRAT)…be part of the solution!
101 Perley Gordon Road
Springfield, VT  05156
(802) 885-1533
http://www.BlackRiverActionTeam.org

From: Steve Kerlin
Date: Wed, Mar 6, 2013 at 12:45 PM
Subject: Re: [volmonitor] Online macroinvertebrate identification tools

We use the River on the Web (ROW) website resources for teachers. It has a number of keys and guides for lessons and stream studies. More are currently being added.
http://row.nku.edu/

We also use the WaterQuality app for iPads and iPhones during our stream studies. The app has a digital key for identifying macros and calculates the PTI.
Here is the link to find it in the iTunes App Store:
https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/water-quality/id569193509?mt=8

Steve Kerlin, Ph.D.

Assistant Professor of Science & Environmental Education
Director of the Center for Environmental Education
Northern Kentucky University
272 MP
859-572-6380

 

From: Craddock, Timothy D
Date: Wed, Mar 6, 2013 at 1:12 PM
Subject: RE: [volmonitor] Online macroinvertebrate identification tools

There is a page within the WV Save Our Streams website that provides a complication of resources related to macroinvertebrates (1).  Some are specific to WV Save Our Streams (2) and others are examples from across the country.

1.       http://www.dep.wv.gov/WWE/getinvolved/sos/Pages/Macros.aspx

2.       http://www.dep.wv.gov/WWE/getinvolved/sos/Pages/Benthics.aspx

There are a wide variety of resources here that touch on identification as well as many reference materials.
Tim Craddock, Nonpoint Program Coordinator
WV Dept. of Environmental Protection
601 57th Street, SE
Charleston, WV  25304

Office: (304) 926-0499 ext. 1040; Mobile: (304) 389-7630
E-mail: timothy.d.craddock@wv.gov
Website: http://www.dep.wv.gov/nonpoint  
“UNLESS someone like you cares a whole awful lot, nothing is going to get better. It’s not.”, the Lorax

 

From: Chris Riggert
Date: Fri, Mar 8, 2013 at 9:10 AM
Subject: RE:[volmonitor] Online macroinvertebrate identification tools

Hi Julie,

I have seen some excellent resources that others have submitted.  Here are a couple that we have available for our VWQM folks here:

–          Blue Bug Card: http://www.mostreamteam.org/Documents/VWQM/BugCard1.10.pdf

–          Key to Macro River Life: http://www.mostreamteam.org/Documents/VWQM/LifeInRiverKey.pdf

–          Invert Chart: http://www.mostreamteam.org/Documents/VWQM/BugChart2.pdf

–          Preservation: http://www.mostreamteam.org/Documents/VWQM/Specimen%20Preservation.pdf

–          Net Racks: http://www.mostreamteam.org/Documents/how_to/pvcrack.pdf

–          Vial Rack: http://www.mostreamteam.org/Documents/how_to/woodenrack.pdf

–          Net Stand: http://www.mostreamteam.org/Documents/how_to/selfsupportingkicknet.pdf

–          Net Support: http://www.mostreamteam.org/Documents/how_to/Plans%20for%20Freestanding%20Kicknet%20Support.pdf

–          Bug Photos: http://www.mostreamteam.org/inverts.asp

One of the staff here also does a “What’s that Bug” feature on our Facebook page.  Amy, since I know NOTHING about Facebook, could you elaborate a bit for the group?

Thanks!
Chris

Christopher M. Riggert
Stream Team Program
Volunteer Water Quality Monitoring Program Coordinator
Missouri Department of Conservation
P.O. Box 180

2901 W. Truman Blvd.
Jefferson City, MO  65102-0180
Phone: (573) 522-4115 ext. 3167
Fax: (573) 526-0990
Chris.Riggert@mdc.mo.gov
www.mostreamteam.org

 

From:
Date: Fri, Mar 8, 2013 at 10:12 AM
Subject: RE:[volmonitor] Online macroinvertebrate identification tools

Hi everyone
check out this link:

http://midge.cfans.umn.edu/vsmivp/

It’s an electronic version based on a published text developed here in MN. It goes to the Family level.

Mary Karius
Hennepin County Environmental Services
701 Fourth Ave South, Suite 700
Minneapolis, MN 55415-1600
612-596-9129
mary.karius@co.hennepin.mn.us

 

From: Amy Meier
Date: Thu, Mar 14, 2013 at 2:00 PM
Subject: RE:[volmonitor] Online macroinvertebrate identification tools

The “What’s that Bug” feature on Facebook (when time allows) is just a fun way to post photos of water quality indicators and let the general Facebook public take a crack at identifying it. We can get some pretty creative responses at times. I haven’t done one in a while, so if anyone would like to contribute photos, please feel free to send them to me or post them directly to our Facebook wall at www.facebook.com/mostreamteams with the tag “What’s that Bug?”.

Amy

Amy K. Meier
Stream Team Biologist
Missouri Department of Conservation
P.O. Box 180
2901 W. Truman Blvd
Jefferson City, MO 65109
(573) 522-4115 x3166
Amy.Meier@mdc.mo.gov
StreamTeam@mdc.mo.gov

 

Leave a Reply

Skip to toolbar