Biological Stream Assessment

Water Watch Biological Monitoring Procedures


This resource is designed primarily for citizen groups to develop general information about the quality of freshwater streams and rivers. The following procedures are designed to reveal changes in stream quality over time, based on numerous collections. While these procedures will not produce "research grade" information, they will provide a fairly accurate evaluation of stream quality. The procedures were developed to achieve the following objectives:

1. Provide a means of locating significant pollution sources without necessitating a lengthy period of sample analysis. The goal of this objective is to develop an assessment of quality while at the stream site. The attainment of this objective allows the investigator to immediately verify the assessment, then proceed upstream, (when degradation is indicated) to locate the problem source.

2. Keep equipment and supply costs within the reach of non-profit citizen groups and other involved organizations.

3. Allow laypersons to develop proficiency in sample collection and analysis.

4. Develop an on-going system that utilizes volunteer support to provide baseline data for assessing the overall quality of Kentucky' s streams and rivers.

Streams are the epitome of dynamic systems; they are constantly changing. The section of stream polluted today may be flushed clean next week. The effects of pollution, however, may be dramatic, as reflected by changes in the quality and quantity of the macroinvertebrate populations.

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