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Watershed Watch Community Science

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  1. Watershed Watch Community Science
  2. Watershed Watch Methods
    Introduction & What is a Watershed?
    1 Quiz
  3. How Do I Collect Watershed Health Data?
    How to Measure Stream Chemistry?
    4Topics
    |
    1 Quiz
  4. What is an Benthic Macroinvertebrate, How to Sample, What do they tell us about Watershed Health?
    4Topics
    |
    1 Quiz
  5. How do we Measure the Health of Riparian Areas
    7Topics
    |
    1 Quiz
  6. How to Measure Streamflow?
    5Topics
    |
    1 Quiz
  7. How to I Turn My Data Into Action?
    How to organize and interpret my data and develop findings?
  8. How to make a community presentation with my findings?
  9. How write a watershed management plan?
  10. We Calibrate Because We Care! ~ How to maintain and calibrate equipment
  11. How can I find work in the field of watershed science?
  12. How can I influence policymakers and turn my data into action?
Lesson 4 of 12
In Progress

What is an Benthic Macroinvertebrate, How to Sample, What do they tell us about Watershed Health?

July 23, 2020

The word “benthic” means bottom dwelling and refers to organisms that live on
the bottom (substrate) of a river, stream or lake. The term “macroinvertebrate”
means the organisms without a spine (invertebrate) that can be seen without the
aid of a microscope or can be seen by the unaided eye.

Aquatic insects are excellent long-term indicators of stream and watershed
health. Because the insects must live in the river all year long, they integrate
the results of the impacts of overall water quality conditions. For example,
watersheds with historic and current overgrazing or urban areas with over 25%
of impervious surface tend to have benthic communities that are less diverse
and more dominated by pollution-tolerant insects than watersheds that are less
disturbed by human communities (May et.al. 2000). Benthic insects tell a story
about the direct impacts of a variety of stressors and their cumulative effects.