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Stream Monitoring Citizen Science & Training Opportunities, May

Photo: FMN Janet Quinn, Hidden Pond stream monitoring

*NVSWCD Workshop*
Sugarland Run Stream Monitoring Workshop

When: Thursday, May 2, 3:00-6:00pm
Where: Sugarland Run Stream Valley Park, Herndon/Sterling

This site is located near one of the largest great blue heron rookeries (breeding/nesting areas) in the eastern US. Volunteers often find plenty of newly hatched young crayfish in the spring. This is also the most accessible stream site, which can be easily reached by wheelchair and/or other assistive tools over a paved path. Learn more and register for this workshop and others here.

*NVSWCD Workshop*
Little Difficult Run Stream Monitoring Workshop

When: Saturday, May 11, 1:00-4:00pm
Where: Fred Crabtree Park/Fox Mill Park, Herndon

This small stream is located in a peaceful wooded park a short hike away from the parking area. Little Difficult Run often scores very highly on the macroinvertebrate index because its watershed lies almost completely within the protected parkland. Reaching this site requires hiking through the woods and over uneven terrain. Learn more and register for this workshop and others here.

*NVSWCD Workshop*
Quander Creek/Dyke Marsh Stream Monitoring Workshop

When: Thursday, May 16, 9:00am-1:00pm
Where: Mount Vernon District Park, Alexandria

Volunteers monitor a small tributary of Dyke Marsh twice this spring in partnership with the Friends of Dyke Marsh. This is the District’s only muddy bottom stream, all others use the rocky bottom protocol. You will see a lot of cool crane fly larva and dragonfly larva here! Reaching this site requires walking through the woods and over uneven terrain. Space at this workshop is limited. If you’re interested in joining us, please email Ashley.

*NVSWCD Workshop*
Horsepen Run Stream Monitoring Workshop

When: Thursday, May 23, 3:00-6:00pm
Where: Horsepen Run Stream Valley Park, Herndon

This site has undergone a lot of change over the last few years! While it had become more challenging to monitor this site in the past, recent changes to the streambed have brought more riffles to monitor and we’re excited to see how this changes the macroinvertebrates we may find! This is an accessible stream site, which can be reached by wheelchair and/or other assistive tools over a paved path (there is a moderate slope). Learn more and register for this workshop and others here.

 

More Training and Stream Monitoring Opportunities

The NoVa Soil & Water Conservation teams are  very excited to contribute their stream data to state and national datasets. If you’d like to see data from all the NVSWCD regional stream monitoring team’s active sites, you can find our organization on the Clean Water Hub.

Stream Monitoring Citizen Science & Training Opportunities, October and November Dates

Photo by FMN J. Quinn, Stream monitoring at Pohick Creek.

 

Little Difficult Run Stream Monitoring Field Training

When: Saturday, October 21, 2023
9:00-11:30am
Where: Fred Crabtree Park, Herndon

This beautiful stream site is located a short hike into the woods and has a large diversity of macroinvertebrates. A visit to this site is highly recommended for anyone looking to practice their macroinvertebrate identification skills, for their VASOS certification or for fun! Learn more and register for this workshop and others here.

Sugarland Run Stream Monitoring Workshop

When: Monday, November 6, 2023
2:00-4:30pm
Where: Sugarland Run Stream Valley Park, Herndon

This site is lovely in the fall, and we usually find some fun hellgrammites and crayfish. This site is also close to one of the largest great blue heron breeding and nesting grounds in the region, and we may see some visitors from their northern range in the area. Pretty neat! Learn more and register for this workshop and others here.

 

Pohick Stream Monitoring Field Training

When: Wednesday, November 8, 2023
2:00-4:30pm
Where: Pohick Creek Stream Valley Park, Springfield

This site has a greater flow and wider stream than any of our other sites. Does more water mean more macros? Only one way to find out… Learn more and register for this workshop and others here.

Big Rocky Run Stream Monitoring Workshop

When: Saturday, November 11, 2023
1:00-3:30pm
Where: Cabell’s Mill, Ellanor C. Lawrence Park, Chantilly

Join us for our last stream monitoring of the fall season! Volunteers at this site often visit and enjoy the park’s nature center and interpretive trails. Learn more and register for this workshop and others here.

More Training and Stream Monitoring Opportunities

The NoVa Soil & Water Conservation teams are  very excited to contribute their stream data to state and national datasets. If you’d like to see data from all the NVSWCD regional stream monitoring team’s active sites, you can find our organization on the Clean Water Hub.

Research and Monitoring of Macroinvertebrates

Feature photo: The Darrin Fresh Water Institute display. See https://dfwi.rpi.edu/ for more information.

Article and photos by FMN Stephen Tzikas

On October 7, 2022, I had the opportunity to attend the Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute (RPI) Research Showcase in Troy, NY at the Shirley Ann Jackson, Ph.D. Center for Biotechnology and Interdisciplinary Studies (CBIS). It was an opportunity for RPI alumni and guests to experience first-hand the research that shapes and leads innovation on a global scale. I was particularly attracted to the display for the Jefferson Project of the Darrin Fresh Water Institute. The Jefferson Project at Lake George, a collaboration between RPI, IBM Research, and The FUND for Lake George, studies fresh water ecological systems to understand impacts of human activities and how to mitigate those effects. Research being conducted can be found here: https://dfwi.rpi.edu/research/projects

My career has been in environmental engineering and the modeling of resources.

Macroinvertebrate types at the Darrin display being reviewed by the author.

I also volunteer for Fairfax County macroinvertebrate monitoring. Hence, the display was a fascinating convergence of the three topics. While there, an alumna started discussing macroinvertebrate modeling to water parameters. I had not realized the enormous amount of research that was being conducted over the years on macroinvertebrates as it related to their importance for environmental monitoring.

Lake George is a source of clean drinking water, food, and recreation. It has an eco-system of macroinvertebrates. Thus, I had a new context for macroinvertebrate monitoring in Fairfax County. Tiny macroinvertebrates are

Darrin Fresh Water Institute table close-up.

essential for the complex food chain in Lake George. Clams, mussels, snails and some insect larvae consume algae and control its overgrowth. Amphipods and isopods, through their shredding activity (called detritus processing), are essential for recycling nutrients in the lake, and are a source of food for fish. Macroinvertebrates are generally sensitive to pollution, warming of the lake due to climate change, and disturbances from shoreline development. Researchers want to understand what environmental factors determine the spatial distribution of macroinvertebrates, the population dynamics of important species, and how human activity is affecting this ecosystem. This is important given that these species are indicators of water quality.

Researchers use a variety of tools to collect the macroinvertebrates and understand the complex food chain at Lake George. Researchers survey the physics, chemistry, and biology of Lake George and also conduct experiments to investigate how some invasive species of Lake George interact, and how they may be affecting the water quality of the lake.

Those who might be interested in the Northern Virginia Soil and Water Conservation District’s Volunteer Stream Monitoring should review this link:

https://www.fairfaxcounty.gov/soil-water-conservation/volunteer-stream-monitoring

Those interested in reading some recent macroinvertebrate research papers should review these references found on the Internet:

• Sci. Technol. 2019, 53, 10, 6025–6034, Modeling the Sensitivity of Aquatic Macroinvertebrates to Chemicals Using Traits, Van den Berg et al.

• Water, 16 September 2021, Sec. Water and Human Systems, Volume 3 – 2021, https://doi.org/10.3389/frwa.2021.662765 , Benthic Macroinvertebrates as Ecological Indicators: Their Sensitivity to the Water Quality and Human Disturbances in a Tropical River, Tampo et al.

• Journal of Freshwater Ecology, Volume 36, 2021, Development of a predictive model for benthic macroinvertebrates by using environmental variables for the biological assessment of Korean streams, Min and Kong.

Winter Stream Life, February 18th

Photo: Courtesy of Fairfax County Park Authority, E C Lawrence Park

Saturday, 02/18/2023
1:00-2:00 PM

ELLANOR C. LAWRENCE PARK LOCATION
Visitor Center & Amphitheater
5040 Walney Road
Chantilly, VA, 20151

Enrollment Fee: $8:00

Click here for additional details and registration information.

Explore Walney Creek with a naturalist to meet some of the small creek critters (macroinvertebrates) that call it home. Learn why so many different types of macroinvertebrates are active in winter streams. The naturalist will demonstrate winter collecting and participants can help pick, sort and learn to identify these magnificent critters.

WINTER STREAM LIFE

Photo: Courtesy of the Fairfax County Park Authority (Ellanor C. Lawrence Park)

WINTER STREAM LIFE

When: Saturday, 02/12/2022 1:00 pm

Where: ELLANOR C. LAWRENCE PARK LOCATION
Pond Shelter
5235 Walney Road
Chantilly, VA, 20151

Cost: $8 per person.

Click here for activity details or call 703-631-0013.

Registration is online.

Event Description:

Explore Walney Creek with a naturalist to meet some of the small creek critters (macroinvertebrates) that call it home. Learn why so many different types of macroinvertebrates are active in winter streams. The naturalist will demonstrate winter collecting and participants can help pick, sort and learn to identify these magnificent critters. The program at Ellanor C. Lawrence Park runs from 1 to 2 p.m.

A World of Bugs

Feature photo by J. Quinn

Photos and article by FMN Steve Tzikas

Upon following an approved sampling protocol,
a net is ready for examination, collection, and identification of the macroinvertebrates captured on it.

As kids, we all had a fascination with bugs. If we owned a microscope, inevitably a few bugs would be examined close-up. We would be fascinated by the insects at natural history museums, even as an adult. Some of us would decide to make a career around bugs. With a vocational education leading to certification and licensing, one can become a pesticide applicator to protect homes and properties against harmful insects. With a little more education one can get a 4-year entomology BS degree. Personally I went into engineering, but it would not be the last time I encountered insects in some other than ordinary fashion. When I was Chief of the US Army’s Environmental Office in Japan, I had a program to control pine beetles on forested property overseen by the Army. There too were those pesticide applicators and any issues that I may have had to address with environmental and safety concerns. At another point in my career, with Ports-of-Entry programs, I was one of many who occasionally offered support to ensure our Agricultural Specialists had the resources they needed to secure America from deadly pests that could enter the country. In fact, there are many opportunities for aspiring students when it comes to insects. For those aspiring students, and for that matter curious adults, there are opportunities to get up close to insects, but in a more friendly manner, because these insects help us monitor the health of streams.

I just entered the Fairfax Chapter of the Virginia Master Naturalist (VMN) course program, and one of the classes covers entomology and invertebrates. The VMN program is a great way to offer community service, get some exercise, and learn something that might be beneficial for a future goal. When I retire I would like to take some graduate level courses in GMU’s environmental science program, which has a biology/ecology component.

A large Hellgramite found by one of the sampling teams.

One of those local volunteer opportunities is with the popular stream monitoring program managed by the Northern Virginia Soil and Conservation District. It’s a chance to learn about watersheds, the basics of stream ecology and monitoring, the sampling and identifying of benthic macroinvertebrates, and the recording of that data for use by researchers and professional decision makers. For more information about this program, visit https://www.fairfaxcounty.gov/soil-water-conservation/volunteer-stream-monitoring.

If this is something that appeals to your inner scientist, certifications are also offered once you accumulate some field experience. Part of that certification journey begins with this weblink: https://www.iwla.org/water/stream-monitoring/upcoming-water-monitoring-workshops.

This biological stream monitoring is great fun. People of all ages attend, not just teenagers. Like myself, there are also a lot of professionals – university graduates seeking new experiences, retired professors, and others who have an interest in life-long learning. Why not discover a whole new world of bugs? I hope to see you at one of the streams monitored in Fairfax County.

Stream monitoring events, Sep. – Nov.

Sugarland Run Stream Monitoring Workshop

Sugarland Run Stream Valley Park, Herndon VA
Sunday, 8 September 2019
10:00am-12:30pm

Join Northern Virginia Soil and Water Conservation District as they discover aquatic life in Sugarland Run! This official NVSWCD stream monitoring workshop covers watershed health, what macroinvertebrates tell us about stream quality, and what you can do to prevent pollution in your local stream. This workshop will also help to prepare you to become a certified stream monitor. Registration is limited. Send questions to Ashley Palmer and RSVP here.

Accotink Creek Stream Monitoring Session

Lake Accotink Park, Springfield VA
Saturday, 14 September 2019
9:30 – 11:30am

Join Friends of Lake Accotink Park and Friends of Accotink Creek for a rewarding and fun time for adults and children who enjoy helping our parks and environment by identifying and counting stream critters to document the health of the stream. RSVP here.

Holmes Run Stream Monitoring Workshop

Roundtree Park, Falls Church VA
Saturday, 19 October 2019
9 – 11:30am

Join Northern Virginia Soil and Water Conservation District as they discover aquatic life in Holmes Run! This official NVSWCD stream monitoring workshop covers watershed health, what macroinvertebrates tell us about stream quality, and what you can do to prevent pollution in your local stream. This workshop will also help to prepare you to become a certified stream monitor. Registration is limited. Send questions to Ashley Palmer and RSVP here.

Reston Association Stream Monitoring Workshop

Reston VA
Saturday, 19 October 2019
1:30 – 4:30pm

What better way to enjoy the changing seasons than to get your feet wet in one of Reston’s streams? RA welcomes new volunteers to assist with stream monitoring at several locations. Get involved with a small team to collect data and identify insects with the goal of assessing the health of Reston’s streams. Not only do you get to learn about streams, it also provides an opportunity to make new friends! Learn more and register.

Reston Association Stream Monitoring Workshop

Reston VA
Saturday, 16 November 2019
11am – 2pm

What better way to enjoy the changing seasons than to get your feet wet in one of Reston’s streams? RA welcomes new volunteers to assist with stream monitoring at several locations. Get involved with a small team to collect data and identify insects with the goal of assessing the health of Reston’s streams. Not only do you get to learn about streams, it also provides an opportunity to make new friends! Learn more and register.

Stream monitoring events, August 14-24

Reston Association (RA) Stream Monitoring Workshop

Walker Nature Center
11450 Glade Dr., Reston VA
Wednesday, 14 August 2019
1-4 pm

It’s hot! What better way to enjoy summer than to get your feet wet in one of Reston’s streams? RA welcomes new volunteers to assist with stream monitoring at several locations. Get involved with a small team to collect data and identify insects with the goal of assessing the health of Reston’s streams. Not only do you get to learn about streams, it also provides an opportunity to make new friends! Learn more and register.

Wolftrap Creek Stream Monitoring Workshop

Wildwood Park, Vienna, VA
Valley Drive SE to Mashie Drive SE
Friday, 16 August 2019
5-7:30 pm

Join the Northern Virginia Soil and Water Conservation District as they discover aquatic life in Wolftrap Creek at certified monitor Ho Yeon’s site in Wildwood Park! This official NVSWCD stream monitoring workshop covers watershed health, what macroinvertebrates tell us about stream quality, and what you can do to prevent pollution in your local stream. This workshop will also help to prepare you to become a certified stream monitor. Registration is limited. Send questions to Ashley Palmer and RSVP here.

Holmes Run Stream Monitoring Session

Near Hockett Street, Falls Church VA
Sunday, 18 August 2019
9 am-12 pm

Join certified stream monitor Valerie Bertha at her site in Holmes Run. Registration is limited. Contact Valerie for more information or to register.

Pohick Creek Stream Monitoring Session

Hidden Pond Nature Center
8511 Greeeley Blvd., Springfield VA
Sunday, 18 August 2019
1:30-4 pm

Join certified stream monitor Susan Demsko at her site at Hidden Pond Nature Center. Registration is limited. Contact Susan for more information or to register.

Reston Association (RA) Stream Monitoring Workshop

Reston, VA
Saturday, 24 August 2019
8 -11 am

Cool off by getting your feet wet in one of Reston’s streams! RA welcomes new volunteers to assist with stream monitoring at several locations. Get involved with a small team to collect data and identify insects with the goal of assessing the health of Reston’s streams. Not only do you get to learn about streams, it also provides an opportunity to make new friends! Learn more and register.

Children’s Science Center program needs macroinvertebrate IDers, June 30th & July 14th

Loudoun Water, 44865 Loudoun Water Way, Ashburn, VA 20147
Saturday, 30 June 2019 and Saturday, 14 July 2019
10 am – 1 pm both days

Each summer the Children’s Science Center selects a citizen science project to highlight and this year it is Creek Critters app and stream monitoring. Audubon Naturalist Society (ANS) will provide some Creek Critter support and Loudoun Wildlife will help with stream monitoring.  A few stream monitoring volunteers are needed to help with the event. Please note that there is nothing at the treatment facility that meets any stream monitoring protocol.

The agenda for the two events is to set up three stations for guests to rotate though:

1. Stream walk lead by Loudoun Water.
2. Creek Critter App and Stream Monitoring demo lead by ANS (need 1-2 people to help with the demo and who know a bit about Creek Critters).
3. Macroinvertebrate identification session lead by Loudoun Wildlife (Need 1-2 people to help with macro ID).  They will be pre-catching marcos for their demonstration.

Folks that love working with kids and their families and can help with macro ID at the two stations. For more information, contact Kara Pascale.

Stream Monitoring, Feb. 9th to Mar. 16th

Prince William (Hooes Run) Water Quality Monitoring Workshop
When: Saturday, 9 February 2019, 10 am-12:30 pm
Where: Castle Ct., Woodbridge VA
Join Veronica Tangiri of Prince William SWCD in monitoring this beautiful site of Hooes Run as it enters the Occoquan Reservior/River area. Chemical and biological data will be collected. Visitors parking lot and curb parking available. Contact Veronica for more information or to register.

Holmes Run Stream Monitoring Workshop
When: Saturday, 16 February 2019, 10 am-12:30 pm
Where: Roundtree Park, Falls Church VA
Join the Northern Virginia Soil and Water Conservation District (NVSWCD) as they discover aquatic life in Holmes Run! This official NVSWCD stream monitoring workshop covers watershed health, what macroinvertebrates tell us about stream quality, and what you can do to prevent pollution in your local stream. This workshop will also help to prepare you to become a certified stream monitor. Registration is limited. Send questions to Ashley Palmer and RSVP here.

Pohick Creek Stream Monitoring Session
When: Saturday, 16 February 2019, 1 – 4 pm
Where: Hidden Pond Nature Center, Springfield VA
Join certified stream monitor Susan Demsko in her winter stream monitoring at her site at Hidden Pond Nature Center. Registration is limited. Contact Susan for more information or to register.

Little Difficult Run Stream Monitoring Workshop
When: Saturday, 23 February 2019, 10 am-12:30 pm
Where: Fred Crabtree Park, Herndon VA
Join the Northern Virginia Soil and Water Conservation District (NVSWCD) as they discover aquatic life in Little Difficult Run! This official NVSWCD stream monitoring workshop covers watershed health, what macroinvertebrates tell us about stream quality, and what you can do to prevent pollution in your local stream. This workshop will also help to prepare you to become a certified stream monitor. Registration is limited. Send questions to Ashley Palmer and RSVP here.

Bryan Branch Stream Monitoring Session
When: Saturday, 23 February 2019, 1 -3 pm
Where: McLean VA
Join a certified stream monitor at this adopted stream to help make a difference in our environment. We will check on the health of one local stream in McLean. County and state officials will use the data you collect to assess the overall condition of our streams and help determine watershed management initiatives. Come learn more and help. Registration is limited. RSVP to Elizabeth Winston.

Holmes Run Stream Monitoring Session
When: Sunday, 24 February 2019, 9 am-12 pm
Where: Near Annandale Road, Falls Church VA
Join certified stream monitor Valerie Bertha in her winter stream monitoring at her site in Holmes Run. Registration is limited. Contact Valerie for more information or to register.

Friends of Accotink Creek Stream Monitoring Session
When: Saturday, 9 March 2019, 9:30 – 11:30 am
Where: Lake Accotink Park, Springfield VA
Join Friends of Accotink Creek volunteers as they assess ecological conditions in a stream, based on the presence and absence of bottom-dwelling invertebrates. Meet at the parking lot behind Lake Accotink Park Administrative Building. See additional stream monitoring information on the Friends of Accotink Creek website.

Cub Run Stream Monitoring Workshop
When: Sunday, 10 March 2019, 10 am-12:30 pm
Where: Cub Run Stream Valley Park, Centreville VA
Join the Northern Virginia Soil and Water Conservation District (NVSWCD) as they discover aquatic life in Cub Run! This official NVSWCD stream monitoring workshop covers watershed health, what macroinvertebrates tell us about stream quality, and what you can do to prevent pollution in your local stream. This workshop will also help to prepare you to become a certified stream monitor. Registration is limited. Send questions to Ashley Palmer and RSVP here.

Prince William (Cedar Run) Stream Monitoring Workshop
When: Saturday, 16 March 2019, 10 am-12:30 pm
Where: Evergreen Acres Farm, Hazelwood Dr., Nokesville VA
Join Veronica Tangiri of the Prince William Soil and Water Conservation District for citizen science monitoring. Come and learn more about the health of this stream and how it interacts with agriculture as it joins the Occoquan River. Contact Veronica for more information or to register.