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How to Monitor Your Stream

By looking at the bugs in streams, rivers, ponds, and lakes we can determine the health of that water source. Specifically we can look at the Benthic-Macro Invertebrates (BMIs) as indicators:

Benthic = Bottom-Dwelling
Macro = Visible to the Naked Eye
Invertebrate = Without a Backbone

BMIs are great indicators of the health of a stream. If we examine what types of bugs and how many of each kind are present in the water we can determine the health of the stream. These little bugs are gauges of the health of the stream for several reasons:

  1. They do not roam very far so we can use them as indicators of the health of a particular point in the water body (ie. In the stream, river, or lake)
  2. Different bugs have different tolerances to water contamination so the types that are present are indicative to the quality of the water
  3. There are lots of bugs!
  4. They are easy to catch (and it's cheap)
  5. They can indicate both long and short term effects to water quality

Bio-Monitoring essentially means counting the bugs in the water to determine the water quality, but there are specific protocols to collecting the bugs which we need to follow to make the study accurate.

STEP 1: Click here to learn about EcoSpark's bio-monitoring protocols.