Over the past month, despite the variable weather and flow conditions, 32 volunteers participated in our macroinvertebrate monitoring program! We have collected samples from 14 monitoring sites, six of which were in our recently expanded service area (outside the boundaries of the Bad River watershed).
We hosted three group training sessions: at Whittlesey Creek National Wildlife Refuge, the Marengo River near a volunteer’s home, and Kimball Falls in Kimball. Two lab identification sessions were held at Northland College, where volunteers began sorting and identifying the macroinvertebrates in their samples.
It was exciting to see the enthusiasm of new and returning volunteers to continue the collection of biological data (macroinvertebrates), a project that BRWA volunteers began in 2003. This type of monitoring, paired with the collection of basic chemistry parameters–pH, dissolved oxygen, chloride, and turbidity–has been a core strategy of our volunteer water quality monitoring program to assess baseline water quality in our local rivers and streams. BRWA volunteers began collecting water chemistry data in 2002. These volunteers conduct sampling once each month year-round. There are currently 30 sites being monitored by volunteers throughout our service area.
Because our local citizens are donating their time and skills to help collect high-quality data, and thanks to the generous donations of our members who support the volunteer program, we all have access to an ever growing base of knowledge about our own water resources. The streams in the BRWA service area are in many ways the lifeblood of our communities, connected to our health, recreation, economies and sense of place. Our thanks for their hours and diverse talents, helping us better understand and care for the land and the waters that run through it!