Virginia's Loudoun Wildlife Conservancy needs citizen volunteers to identify aquatic insects in local streams. The type and quantity of these insects, called benthic macroinvertebrates, tell a good story about the quality of water in the stream and its surrounding habitat.
Monitoring is done in teams of three or four experienced and novice monitors who follow the Virginia Save Our Streams monitoring protocol. Team members wade into the stream and use collecting nets to capture live aquatic insects in the riffle and pool portions of the stream.
The data are transcribed to a computer database maintained by Loudoun Wildlife Conservancy and are used to prepare water quality reports. Because the same stream sites are sampled year after year, project coordinators are able to report on trends in the health of the streams and aquatic life.