Maryland's Jug Bay Wetlands Sanctuary needs volunteers to collect, count, and identify macroinvertebrates (small animals without backbones) in its streams. The sanctuary is in southern Anne Arundel County, 20 miles east Washington, D.C., and 18 miles south of Annapolis, Maryland.
One indicator of good water quality is a diverse and abundant population of macroinvertebrates. A dip in oxygen levels or a plume of pesticide can make a stream inhospitable to more sensitive animals.
Benthic macroinvertebrates--ones that dwell on the bottom of streams--can reveal much about the health of their watery environment. Since these animals more or less stay put, they are reliable indicators of water quality at each sampling site.
If you like to hike and wade in shallow streams, this project is for you! Monitoring takes place several times a year, and each sampling takes about two hours in the field and another two hours of processing in the lab.