Volunteers go through a two day training that prepares them to collect chemical data.
Volunteers have help from Blue Thumb staff for fish collections and macroinvertebrate collections – Northern Studfish
Habitat information is recorded when fish are collected, and to a lesser degree during the macroinvertebrate collections. Taking information on substrate, riparian area condition, amount of shade over the water, depth, instream cover, etc.
Because the OCC WQ Division’s Rotating Basin Program, we also have “High Quality Streams” against which we can measure the volunteer monitored streams.
The high quality streams are from the various ecoregions, and it is by ecoregion that the average of the HQS with the volunteer monitored streams are compared. OK is rich in ecoregions, another reason why we live in a pretty special state.
Data Reports New Orleans 0909 Lemmon
Volunteers and their Data ~ What We Know about Blue Thumb Streams
Stream Protection through Education ~ volunteers who monitor and educate the public
Blue Thumb volunteers collect information about streams. Blue Thumb is a nonpoint source education project.
These different pieces of information fit together to give a good picture of a stream.
Volunteers gather data over months and years. The stream data is meaningful.
Stream data becomes MORE meaningful when you have a dependable comparison.
High quality streams have been designated for all Oklahoma ecoregions. High Quality Streams known to have high quality fish and macroinvertebrate populations, in-stream and riparian habitat, and water quality.
Blue Thumb staff works with volunteers to review stream data and compare it against the high quality streams.
Different fish and macroinvertebrate species have different abilities to tolerate pollution and habitat changes. How does the life in YOUR stream compare to the life in your ecoregion’s high quality streams?
Important – Volunteers can see trends, changes at their own sites.
Volunteers review data they have gathered and work with staff to produce reports.
Use information to educate citizens about local streams.
People want to know about local stream health. People can protect streams.
Also available: Data reports from the OCC Water Quality Division
Displays/exhibits News articles Presentations Creek cleanup events Watershed groups
Some streams need help… some streams are wonderlands of life.
Physical Habitat + Biological Community + Water Chemistry Stream Health
A Tale of Two Streams <ul><li>Same ecoregion – Cross Timbers </li></ul><ul><li>Same size – 3 rd Order </li></ul><ul><li>Monitored regularly </li></ul><ul><li>Fish collection and habitat assessment in 2006 </li></ul>Delaware Creek Osage County Coffee Creek Oklahoma County
We keep at least one specimen of all species in a jug of formalin to quality check our field identification.
Sometimes the fish are too big for the jug so we take a photo.
Index of Biotic Integrity (IBI) scoring criteria for fish. <18% 18-36% >36% Proportion individuals as lithophilic spawners <20% 20-45% >45% Proportion insectivorous cyprinid individuals >25% 10-25% <10% Proportion tolerant individuals <33% 33-67% >67% Number of intolerant species <33% 33-67% >67% Number of sunfish species <33% 33-67% >67% Number of sensitive benthic species <33% 33-67% >67% Number of species 1 3 5 Metrics
Index of Biotic Integrity (IBI) score interpretation for fish. Few species and individuals present; tolerant species dominant; diseased fish frequent E 20 – 37% Top carnivores and many expected species absent or rare; omnivores and tolerant species dominant D 47 – 57% Intolerant and sensitive species rare or absent C 67 – 73% Decreased species richness, especially intolerant species B 80 – 87% Comparable to pristine conditions, exceptional species assemblage A 97 – 100 % Attributes Condition % of reference
Physical Habitat + Biological Community Fish Bugs + Water Chemistry Stream Health Delaware Creek Coffee Creek