Wondering about the quality in your neighborhood streams? Test the water today! We'll help you get started.
BIOLOGICAL MONITORING EQUIPMENT
We use a few specific items of equipment to safely collect stream bugs for the Save Our Streams biological monitoring method. All items are available through outside vendors. Below is information about where you can obtain each piece of equipment for reasonable prices.
Create Your Own Rocky Bottom/Muddy Bottom Sampling Kit
Recommended equipment for your kit includes one kick seine (rocky bottom) or D-frame (muddy bottom) net, one aquatic thermometer, one hand-held magnifier lens, one set of forceps, two large magnifier boxes, and five small magnifier boxes. If you are teaching a group of new stream monitors, consider purchasing extra forceps, magnifier lenses, and magnifier boxes to allow the group to work together. Other items you should include in your kit are a white plastic tablecloth (for sorting through leaves and other items in your nets), white ice cube trays (for collecting critters), and knee-high boots.
- Kick Seine Net, 1/16-inch mesh (volunteer) or 1/32-inch mesh (professional): A nylon mesh 3-by-3 foot net for collecting macroinvertebrates in stream riffles. Poles not included. Available from Nichols Net & Twine, http://www.nicholsnetandtwine.com, 800-878-6387. Ask for an SOS kick seine with 1/16-inch mesh or 1/32-inch mesh. Or you can build your own! Learn more in our "how to" article (PDF link).
- D-Frame Net for Muddy Bottom Stream Sampling: A 1/32-inch nylon mesh net on a D-shaped frame and 4-foot long pole. Ideal for sampling aquatic insects found on overhanging vegetation and in mud or gravel stream beds. Available from Ward's Natural Science, http://www.wardsci.com, 800-962-2660. Item #100621. Net replacement, item #100615, and replacement handle, item #100625, also available. Or you can build your own! Learn more in our "how to" article (PDF link).
- Aquatic Thermometer: A Fahrenheit thermometer for recording stream temperature (range 0 to 120 degrees Fahrenheit). Enclosed in plastic case for safety. Easy to read. Available from Ben Meadows, http://www.benmeadows.com, 800-241-6401. Item #111053.
- Magnifier Box (small - 1 in. x 1 in. x .75 in.): Plastic box with 4x magnifier lid. Fill with water and use to identify aquatic insects. Available from Nasco, http://www.enasco.com, 800-558-9595. Item #SB10304M.
- Magnifier Box (large - 1 1/2 inch cube): Plastic box with 3x magnifier lid. Fill with water and use to identify aquatic insects. Available from Nasco, http://www.enasco.com, 800-558-9595. Item #SB10305M.
- Forceps (large tweezers): 4-1/2" fine points straight forceps with guide pin. Serrated points. Superior grade. Now available from: Nasco, http://www.enasco.com, 800-558-9595. Item #SB12628M.
Field Guide to Aquatic Macroinvertebrates (4-panel laminated brochure): This handy reference tool is designed to help volunteer monitors identify aquatic macroinvertebrates when conducting water quality surveys. The diagrams of the macroinvertebrate larvae and adults are grouped by biological type and display common features that characterize each animal. Symbols indicate the relative sensitivity categories (sensitive, less sensitive, and tolerant) based on the general Save Our Streams classification system. Now available from: McDonald and Woodward Publishing Company, http://www.mwpubco.com, 800-233-8787.
Watershed Stewardship Action Kit: This publication includes the instructions and data form for the Izaak Walton League's biological stream monitoring method. Fact sheets address stream and wetland ecology, water monitoring, and federal regulations and teach the reader to fundraise, organize watershed cleanups, reduce water usage at home, survey watersheds, and monitor water quality. Use this resource to start your own watershed stewardship projects or to teach others about the importance of water conservation. Available from McDonald and Woodward Publishing Company, http://www.mwpubco.com, 800-233-8787.
Guide to Aquatic Insects and Crustaceans: An updated version of the original Save Our Streams Monitor's Guide to Aquatic Macroinvertebrates, this 64-page fully illustrated guide is designed to enable anyone to identify aquatic insects and crustaceans. It includes a dichotomous key, detailed description of each organism, and tips for proper identification. Available from http://www.stackpolebooks.com, 800-732-3669.
CHEMICAL MONITORING EQUIPMENT
Many different types of equipment can measure the chemical parameters used by the Izaak Walton League’s Save Our Streams water quality monitoring program. Equipment costs, ease of use, and accuracy vary greatly. The League recommends the following equipment. You should also have stopwatch or watch with a second hand.
PHYSICAL MONITORING EQUIPMENT
The majority of physical monitoring uses visual observations and requires only a data form and a pencil. If taking a measurement of stream flow, additional equipment is needed, including string or twine, a permanent marker, a whiffle ball, and a stopwatch that goes to hundredths of a second. Most cell phone stop watches will suffice. In addition, flow measurements require a yard stick and an open-reel 100-foot measuring tape (such as the one available from Forestry Suppliers