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  1. 1. Hello, my name is Jay Gilliam. Today we are going to get into the stream and learn a little bit about the stream, the critters that live in the stream, and the water quality of the stream
  2. 2. Virginia Save Our Streams Program • Before we get into the stream, I need to tell you a few things about myself and the VA SOS program • Virginia Save Our Streams program is a priority project of the Virginia Division of the Izaak Walton League. There are 27 IWLA Chapters in the Virginia Division and over 7,000 members. • The Virginia Division took over the program in 1994, after the national IWLA left Virginia.
  3. 3. Virginia Save Our Streams • We train people to make careful observations about the stream in order to evaluate the water quality of the stream • We do this by looking at the critters (macroinvertebrates) that live on the stream bottom (the benthic zone). STONEFLY
  4. 4. Virginia Save Our Streams • To fully understand what water quality means - we are going to step back for a minute and take a wider view…starting from our watershed. • What is a watershed?
  5. 5. “A watershed is the land area that drains to a single body of water such as a stream, lake, wetland, or estuary. Hills or ridgelines often bound watersheds; interior valleys collect precipitation in streams, rivers, and wetlands. These physical boundaries define the movement of water and delineate the watershed. Watersheds are nested - larger watersheds like the Chesapeake Bay encompass many smaller watersheds.”
  6. 6. Watersheds Everything we do impacts our streams and rivers. Our daily activities throughout the watershed accumulate, and the end result can end up polluting our streams and rivers.
  7. 7. Pollution • When people talk about water, they talk about point source pollution and nonpoint source pollution • Point source pollution comes from a specific source: a pipe, a ditch, a container. It has a beginning point and an end point. Here’s an easy way to remember, you can point to the pipe that’s causing the problem. Point source pollution is usually permitted. So now you might be thinking, just what kind of pollution is Jay talking about?
  8. 8. Nonpoint source pollution comes from many scattered sources. It occurs when water (runoff) moves across and under the ground (think rain storm). The runoff picks up natural and man-made pollutants as its moves across the land. Then the runoff deposits the pollutants at the bottom of the watershed, into streams, rivers, lakes, estuaries, and even underground aquifers. Can you point to the problem? You might be able to point to different sources - but you can’t tell if, when, or how the source is getting into the waterbody. Nonpoint source pollution is usually controlled by voluntary programs.
  9. 9. Pollution • There’s toxic pollution, like DDT or other chemicals that cause organisms to die and can threaten human health. Toxic pollution can come from pipes or barrels, but it can also come from runoff. • There’s sediment pollution that can clog our waterways as well as ruin habitat and clog the gills of organisms in the stream. Lack of vegetative cover and impervious surfaces both have an impact on sedimentation. Now you’re thinking, that’s nice, but what does that mean, what types of pollution cause my stream to be bad?
  10. 10. Pollution • There is nutrient pollution that causes plant life in a stream to overgrow, depleting oxygen and sometimes causing the temperature of the stream to get too high. Nutrients can come from fertilizers used in lawns and gardens and animal waste or human waste. • There is also bacteria pollution that can cause human health problems - usually gastrointestinal. Bacteria pollution comes from animal and human waste.
  11. 11. Monitoring AAAARRRRGGGGHHHH I’m never getting into water again! • But wait, there are ways to find out what is in your stream...
  12. 12. Monitoring Pollution • Chemical monitoring is a snapshot in time of certain parameters in a water sample. The amounts of these parameters are usually compared to a water quality standard and a determination of stream degradation is made based upon the comparison. This process usually involves a lab, so it is costly and time consuming. There are a couple of ways to monitor the impacts of pollution on a stream. Chemical monitoring and biological monitoring are most commonly used.
  13. 13. Monitoring Pollution • Biological Monitoring or biomonitoring evaluates the presence, absence, and abundance of certain organisms in the stream. This type of monitoring gives an overall assessment of the health of the stream based upon the ecological conditions of the stream (what critters are making the stream their home).
  14. 14. Biomonitoring • One type of biomonitoring is to evaluate the benthic macroinvertebrates that live in the stream. • Benthic means bottom-dwelling • Macroinvertebrates are organisms without a backbone that are visible to the naked eye.
  15. 15. VA SOS Method - Nutshell In a nutshell - the Virginia SOS monitoring method involves getting into the stream, using a net to collect critters that live on the bottom of the stream, sorting and identifying your catch, and then filling out the data sheet with easy calculations to come up with an ecological score for the stream. This method can evaluate the impacts of toxic, sediment, and nutrient pollution. This method can not evaluate the impacts of bacteria pollution. The VA SOS method is also inexpensive and gives you an ecological rating on the spot!
  16. 16. Important Information Before we go out in the stream, I want to go over 2 more things with you: safety and the critters.
  17. 17. Monitoring Safely • Always remember to wash your hands after getting into any stream. The VA SOS method can not detect bacteriological pollution. • Glass may be hidden in the bottom of the stream - watch out for it! • If you do get a cut or scrape while in the stream, use peroxide to clean the wound. Again, bacteriological pollution... • Always sample in pairs!
  18. 18. The Macroinvertebrates Now I am going to take a little time to show you the critters we will be looking for, the defining characteristics for each critter, and its general pollution tolerance. You can follow along with me on the macroinvertebrate identification sheet.
  19. 19. Stream Insects and Crustaceans ID CardLines under picture indicate the relative size of organismsAquatic Worm:Class Oligocheata?
  20. 20. Stream Insects and Crustaceans ID CardLines under picture indicate the relative size of organismsBeetles: Order Coleoptera?” –
  21. 21. The Macroinvertebrates A little critter anatomy... Abdomen Thorax Head
  22. 22. The Macroinvertebrates Aquatic Worm • Can be very tiny • Thin, wormlike body • Tolerant of pollution
  23. 23. The Macroinvertebrates Flat Worm • Up to ¼” • soft body • may have distinct head with eyespots • tolerant of impairment
  24. 24. The Macroinvertebrates Leech • ¼" - 2” • segmented body • suction cups on both ends • tolerant of impairment
  25. 25. The Macroinvertebrates Crayfish • Up to 6” • 2 large claws, 8 legs, resembles a small lobster • somewhat tolerant of impairment
  26. 26. The Macroinvertebrates Sowbug • ¼" - ¾” • gray oblong body wider than it is high, more than 6 legs, long antennae • Relative of the “pill bug” you see on land • somewhat tolerant of impairment
  27. 27. The Macroinvertebrates Scud • ¼” • white to gray, body higher than it is wide, swims sideways, more than 6 legs • resembles small shrimp • somewhat tolerant of impairment
  28. 28. The Macroinvertebrates Stonefly - • ½" - 1 ½” • 6 legs with hooked tips, antennae, 2 wire-like tails • Never have gills on abdomen • very intolerant of impairment • Will do “pushups” in the ice cube trays when oxygen levels fall.
  29. 29. The Macroinvertebrates Mayfly • ¼" - 1” • plate-like or feathery gills on abdomen • 6 hooked legs, most have 3 wire- like tails, tails may be webbed together • A few have 2 wire-like tails. These are easy to detect by the gills on the abdomen • very intolerant of impairment
  30. 30. The Macroinvertebrates Dragonfly • ½ " - 2” • Mainly identified by the shape of their bodies. They range from slightly oval shapes to round. • On close inspection you will notice a hinged lower jaw the projects back along the underside of the thorax. • 6 hooked legs • somewhat tolerant of impairment
  31. 31. The Macroinvertebrates Damselfly • ½ " - 2” • Have 3 characteristic paddle shaped “tails”. In other words their three “tails” are shaped like the blade of an oar. These are actually supplemental gills and not true tails. • Damselflies are fragile or “spindly” looking • large eyes, 6 hooked legs • somewhat tolerant of impairment
  32. 32. The Macroinvertebrates Hellgrammite, Fishfly, and Alderfly • ¾" - 4” • 6 legs, large pinching jaws, 8 pairs of feelers along abdomen, 2 hooks on tail end OR 1 single spiky tail • somewhat tolerant of impairment
  33. 33. The Macroinvertebrates Common Netspinners: • Up to ¾” • Can be brown to green depending on what it has been eating. • Has two “tufty” tails. • Does not make a case. • Often this one will do the “caddisfly dance”. Ask your trainer to demonstrate. • 6 hooked legs on upper 1/3 of body • underside of abdomen with white tufts of gills (may require magnification to see) • somewhat tolerant of impairment
  34. 34. The Macroinvertebrates Most Caddisfly: • Up to 1” • Caddis are often fat and segmented • 6 hooked legs on upper 1/3 of body • They often have a greenish color although this is often dependent on what they have been eating. • may be in stick, rock or leaf case • no gill tufts on abdomen • We differentiate the netspinning caddis because of its much higher tolerance for water pollution.
  35. 35. The Macroinvertebrates Beetles • ¼" - 1” • disk-like oval body with 6 small legs and gill tufts on underside • OR small black beetle crawling on streambed • OR comma-like brown "crunchy" body with 6 legs on upper 1/3 and possibly gill tuft on back end • OR (miscellaneous body form - rare) • somewhat tolerant of impairment
  36. 36. The Macroinvertebrates Midges: • Up to ¼” • distinct head, worm-like segmented body • 2 leg-like projections on each side • often whitish to clear, occasionally bright red • tolerant of impairment
  37. 37. The Macroinvertebrates Black Fly • Up to ¼” • end of body wider (like bowling pin) • distinctive head, sucker on end • tolerant of impairment
  38. 38. The Macroinvertebrates Most True Flies: • ¼" - 2” • bodies plump and maggot-like • may have caterpillar like "legs" along body • may have lobes or conical tails on end • tolerant of impairment
  39. 39. The Macroinvertebrates Gilled Snails: • Up to ¾” • shell opening covered by a thin plate called an operculum • with helix pointed up shell opens to the right • intolerant of impairment
  40. 40. The Macroinvertebrates Lunged Snails • Up to ¾” • no operculum • with helix pointed up shell opens to the left • tolerant of impairment
  41. 41. The Macroinvertebrates Clams • Up to ¾” • fleshy body enclosed between two clamped together shells (if clam is alive, shells cannot be pried apart without harming clam) • somewhat tolerant of impairment
  42. 42. Field Method VA SOS • Before we go out into the field, I want to talk briefly about quality assurance and quality control measures. • People who use water quality data want to be sure it is collected in a specific, scientific manner. • The VA SOS modified method was developed by scientists at Virginia Tech • The specific way we perform the VA SOS method and the training and certification of VA SOS monitors is our quality control.
  43. 43. Field Method VA SOS Set up equipment - • get out net • put on waders and gloves • set up table (if using one) and lay out white sheet • prepare ice cube trays or other sorting trays • get out forceps and any magnifying device you have
  44. 44. Field Method VA SOS Inspect your net • Look for rips or tears and repair • make sure anchor weights are secure • make sure net is tied securely to the poles
  45. 45. Field Method VA SOS Pick your riffle • Select a shallow, fast-moving area • Depth of 3 to 12 inches (8 to 30 cm) • Stones which are cobble-sized (2 to 12 inches) or larger. Stone size is important since the macroinvertebrates surveyed prefer these stones for protection and food supply. In addition, the bubbling of the water over the rocks provides needed oxygen for healthy growth
  46. 46. Field Method VA SOS Setting Up the Net • Approach your riffle from downstream • Place the net perpendicular to the flow of water immediately downstream riffle you have selected to sample.
  47. 47. Field Method VA SOS Placing the Net • The bottom, weighted edge of the net should fit tightly against the stream bottom.
  48. 48. Field Method VA SOS Placing the Net • Select some rocks from outside your sampling area, clean them off (outside of the net), and place them on the bottom of the net to hold the net firmly to the bottom. This will prevent insects from escaping under the net.
  49. 49. Field Method VA SOS Placing the Net • Tilt the net back, so the water flowing through the net covers a large portion of the net, however, be careful not to tilt the net so much that water flows over the top, allowing organisms to escape.
  50. 50. Field Method VA SOS Quickly sample the targeted area for 20 seconds. • To sample, lift and rub underwater all large rocks in the sample area to dislodge any clinging organisms. Rub all exposed surfaces of rocks in the sampling area that are too large to lift. • Dig around in the small rocks and sediments on the streambed in order to dislodge any burrowing macroinvertebrates.
  51. 51. Field Method VA SOS • Then remove the net with an upstream scooping motion to keep all the macroinvertebrates in the net. Remove the net • After sampling for 20 seconds, carefully rub off any rocks used to anchor the net.
  52. 52. Field Method VA SOS Picking the catch • Carefully place your net on a light colored surface (like a white sheet). This makes the organisms easier to see. • Using tweezers or your fingers, gently pick all the macroinvertebrates from the net and place them in your collecting container, sorting them as you go.
  53. 53. Field Method VA SOS
  54. 54. Field Method VA SOS Picking the catch (continued) • Be sure to look on both sides of any debris in the sample • Any moving creature is considered a part of the sample. • Look closely for very small organisms and take your time. You must pick all the organisms from the net! • Spraying water on the net from time to time will make the critters move and make them easier to see
  55. 55. Field Method VA SOS Lift the net • Once you have sorted all the organisms off the net, lift the net and examine the underlying area. • Collect any organisms that have crawled through the net. • Again, it is important to collect all these organisms to have an accurate sample.
  56. 56. Field Method VA SOS • Use primarily body shape and number of legs and tails to identify the critters, since the same family or order can vary considerably in size and color. • Use the tally sheet and macroinvertebrate key to aid in the identification process. Sorting • Place organisms that look alike into groups.
  57. 57. Field Method VA SOS The Count • Once all the macroinvertebrates are removed from the seine, count the total number of organisms in the sample. • If you do not have 200 organisms, another net must be collected from a different area in the same riffle.
  58. 58. Field Method VA SOS The second net (if necessary) • The same sampling, picking, and counting method applies to the second net - if a second net was required • All of the organisms in the subsequent nets most be counted in their entirety (even if it is over 200)! • You must continue the sampling and picking process until you have over 200 organisms or you have collected 4 nets.
  59. 59. Field Method VA SOS Now it is time to fill out the field data sheets • The first page of the field sheets has important information about – the site – who collected the data – the date – weather conditions – general stream conditions – sampling time
  60. 60. Field Method VA SOS • Record the number of individuals you find in each taxonomic group on the tally sheet. • Include the total number of organisms in the sample on the lower right corner of the tally sheet. • Follow the tables attached to the tally sheet to calculate the individual metrics and the final ecological condition score. The remainder of the data sheets includes the macroinvertebrate tally and metric calculations
  61. 61. Field Method VA SOS Let’s Practice filling in the data sheets...
  62. 62. Field Method VA SOS Front Page of Field Sheets - Basic Stream Information Date: 10/7/01 Stream: Muddy Creek Station #:MUD 1 # of Participants: 2 Group/Individual: Jay Gilliam, Virginia Save Our Streams Name of Certified Monitor County Latitude Longitude Location: Average Stream Width Average Stream Depth Flow Rate: High Normal Low Negligible Weather Last 72 hours: Water Temperature Collection Time: Net 1: Net 3: Net 2: Net 4: Save Our Streams Stream Quality Survey
  63. 63. Field Method VA SOS Macroinvertebrates Count Macroinvertebrates Count Worms 18 Most Caddisflies 0 Flat Worms 36 Common Netspinners 32 Leeches 13 Beetles 4 Crayfishes 1 Midges 19 Sowbugs 5 Black Flies 13 Scuds 11 Most True Flies 4 Stoneflies 0 Gilled Snails 2 Mayflies 34 Lunged Snails 9 Dragonflies and Damselflies 1 Clams 0 Hellgrammites, Fishflies, and Alderflies 2 TOTAL 204 Sample Tally Sheet
  64. 64. Field Method VA SOS Individual Metrics MetricNumberTotalnumber oforganisms inthe samplePercentMayflies +Stoneflies +MostCaddisflies34D
  65. 65. Field Method VA SOS % Tolerant Taxon Number Worms 18 Flatworms 36 Leeches 13 Sowbugs 5 Scuds 11 Dragonflies and Damselflies 1 Midges 19 Black Flies 13 Lunged Snails 9 Clams 0 Total Tolerant 125 Total Tolerant divided by the total number of organisms in the sample 0.6127 Multiply by 100 61.3
  66. 66. Field Method VA SOS % Non-Insect TaxonNumberWorms18Flatworms36Leeches13Crayfish1Sowbugs5Scuds11Gil
  67. 67. Field Method VA SOS Final Ecological Condition Score MetricYour MetricValue210% Mayflies + Stoneflies+ Most Caddisflies16.7 Greater than 32.2 16.1 – 32.2XLess than 1
  68. 68. Field Method VA SOS Habitat Assessment • The final portion of the monitoring session is to evaluate the habitat of the stream. • This is an important portion of the monitoring as it can help identify sources of pollution and stressors to the macroinvertebrate population • Feel free to follow on you handout as I go over some of the important elements of the habitat field sheet.
  69. 69. Field Method VA SOS Fish water quality indicators - Some fish, like trout, are sensitive to pollution. Others, like carp, are relatively tolerant. Unless a fish happens to wind up in your net they are not easy to identify without experience. In answering this question you should first look at general characteristics: are the fish seen individually or in schools. Once this is done and you are relatively certain of the type you can note which fish you see. Not all the possibilities are given here.
  70. 70. Field Method VA SOS Barriers to fish movement - This should specifically note barriers within a short distance of your monitoring site, not those more than a mile off. If you have a barrier not listed, please check other and write in the barrier type present at your site.
  71. 71. Field Method VA SOS Surface water appearance - Please indicate the color of the water itself, apart from the substrates. This may indicate runoff problems. Most streams are clear in periods of low flow. At high flow runoff is more likely and may change the color and/or clarity of the water. A tea color often indicates the presence of tannins in the water from decaying leaf matter. A colored sheen may lead to an oil spill of some kind. Otherwise discolored water indicates erosion or other types of runoff upstream from your site that could lead to lower or changed macroinvertebrate populations.
  72. 72. Field Method VA SOS Streambed deposit (bottom) - Please indicate the color/ type of material in the substrate in the riffle you sample. In most riffle monitoring the bottom will consist of gravel, cobbles, and boulders. In some cases there is a layer of muddy material between the cobbles that may increase or decrease through time. This is an indicator of the stream's sediment load and type of sediment. Noting the color and/or consistency of this sediment helps keep track of changes in the environment for macroinvertebrates
  73. 73. Field Method VA SOS Odor - Notes invisible but significant pollution.
  74. 74. Field Method VA SOS Stability of the streambed - Like the color or consistency of the streambed deposit, this is an indicator of sediment load and changes through time. It also helps keep track of the quality of the riffle
  75. 75. Field Method VA SOS Alga color and location - Please note first the color of the algae (make sure that you are looking at the algae itself and not any sediment on it), then estimate the area covered by algae. Algae growth, color, and consistency are responsive to nutrient loads. A matted or hairy alga is a sign of low stream quality. Light or dark green algae in spots indicate a healthy stream. Brown algae often indicates episodic increases in sediment loads.
  76. 76. Field Method VA SOS Stream channel shade - Please indicate the shade present on the day you monitor. Shading is an important determinant of water temperature and oxygen concentration in the stream. Oxygen levels are higher in colder water. Sensitive fish and macroinvertebrates do better with higher oxygen levels. Shade quantity should be determined by estimating the overhead cover at the monitoring site. Only five choices are given: full, high, moderate, low, or none.
  77. 77. Field Method VA SOS Stream bank composition (=100%) - Please estimate the percentages of each vegetation type based on the immediate bank (not the entire riparian area). All herbaceous plants and mosses should be included in grasses. The long-term stability of a stream bank is often determined by the makeup of its plant population. Bare banks are eroding. Heavily wooded banks seldom erode even in heavy flooding. By noting the percentage of cover provided by various components of the stream bank you can keep track of changes through time that could affect stream health.
  78. 78. Field Method VA SOS Stream bank erosion potential - This is a subjective estimate of damage to the stream bank through time. It is often comparable to the amount of bare soil, but not exclusively. If the height of the stream bank is greater than the rooting depth of the plants on it, erosion is a distinct possibility. This category is your estimate of the potential amount of the stream bank that could experience erosion during high rainfall or a flood event.
  79. 79. Field Method VA SOS Riffle composition (=100%) - Please be sure to note all the substrate within the riffle, not just those rocks lying on top. Stream bottoms are not static; they do change through time. Riffle composition affects macroinvertebrates. The ideal habitat for many of the creatures is cobbles, stones between 2 and 10 inches in diameter. This estimate of composition percentage indicates the quality of macroinvertebrate habitat.
  80. 80. Field Method VA SOS Riffle composition - Silt or mud is determined by feel. If the streambed bottom has smooth feeling like mud it is probably made up of silt and clay particles. When it feels gritty or has visible grains then it is sand. In streams sand grains are those particles between 1/64" and ¼" in size. Gravel consists of all rock between ¼" and 2" in size. Boulders are those rocks greater than 10" in diameter. At times some riffles may have exposed bedrock. Since this is a poor habitat for macroinvertebrates you should note this in the comments at the bottom of the survey.
  81. 81. Field Method VA SOS Land uses in the watershed - The SOS Habitat Survey form asks if land use impacts are high (H), moderate (M), or slight (S). Although these questions are somewhat subjective, record the impacts the following ways. Note H for a land use if it comprises the majority of land in the watershed and is polluting the stream. Or, note H if the land use has a severe impact of stream quality even though the land use does not use a great deal of land, such as a construction site which has caused the stream to be full of silt and muddy water.
  82. 82. Field Method VA SOS Land uses in the watershed - Note M for a land use if the land use is definitely contributing to stream degradation but is not the major cause for degradation or is one of many causes. For example, parking lot runoff and trash from a shopping mall may contribute significantly to stream pollution but may not be the only cause of stream degradation. Note S for a land use if its impacts are minimal in polluting the stream. For example, although a farm may be present, good farming practices and conservation measures may mean the pollution impact is negligible. If the land use is present, but causing no pollution, write N for none. Finally, leave the entry blank if you notice no forms of this land use upstream from your monitoring site
  83. 83. Field Method VA SOS Describe litter - Many streams downstream of urban areas are dumping grounds for refuse. While not necessarily pollutants, they can degrade, causing pollution or simply be an aesthetic nuisance. Noting which types are present and how much of the stream area is affected may contribute to actions that reduce refuse disposal in the streams.
  84. 84. Field Method VA SOS Comments - Often the information given above needs further clarification. Use this last section to briefly add any thoughts, opinions, or observations you have made about stream health that are not included in the form.
  85. 85. Field Method VA SOS What’s next...
  86. 86. Becoming a VA SOS Monitor Practice, practice, practice... • We ask that monitoring sites only be sampled 4 times a year - during the seasons. Please don’t over-sample your site! • If you need help selecting a monitoring site or finding someone to monitor with - contact me or your regional coordinator
  87. 87. Becoming a VA SOS Monitor Get Certified • Once you have had a chance to let it all sink in and practice a few times, contact me or your regional coordinator to set up a certification session • Getting certified is easy - you just have to pass 2 simple tests AND they are open book!
  88. 88. Becoming a VA SOS Monitor Get Certified • The 1st test is on your ability to perform the VA SOS monitoring technique – selecting an appropriate riffle – approaching the site – positioning the net – rubbing the rocks and disturbing the substrate – sorting the critters and filling out the data sheet • The 2nd test is on your ability to identify the macroinvertebrates
  89. 89. Becoming a VA SOS Monitor Collecting and Submitting the data – It is important to completely fill in the data sheet. If you have questions - just ask! – You can either mail the data sheet to the address on the sheet or you can submit it as an e-mail attachment. Electronic forms are on- line. In the future, electronic submissions on our web page will be possible.
  90. 90. I appreciate your participation in this virtual VA SOS Session. Please contact me at 804-615-5036, toll free at 888-656-6664, or to set up a hands on training session.