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Volunteers Invited to Join Pomperaug River Watershed Coalition’s 15th Annual Macroinvertebrate Surve

Each fall, Pomperaug River Watershed Coalition (PRWC) conducts its annual Macroinvertebrate Survey and is seeking volunteers to participate in collecting samples of small river dwelling creatures to measure stream health on Saturday, October 17 and Saturday, October 24.

Prior to field collection days, PRWC is hosting two online Zoom training sessions on Wednesday, October 14 at 6:30 PM and Thursday, October 22 at 6:30 PM. These training will equip volunteers with knowledge of what macroinvertebrates are and how and why they are collected in order to follow Connecticut Department of Energy and Environmental Protection (DEEP) procedures. Registration for these trainings are found here. Individuals interested in learning about the program but not able to conduct field work are welcome to attend an online Zoom training.

This year, volunteers have the choice of sampling on Saturday, October 17 or Saturday October 24 in order to keep groups small and distanced. Each day will have three choices of sessions: Session 1 at 10:00AM, Session 2 at 12:30PM, and Session 3 at 3:00PM, each capped at four volunteers. Each group will work directly with PRWC staff to survey a small stream and brook in the Pomperaug Watershed and identify what was collected. Voucher samples and data sheets will later be submitted to DEEP for verification and inclusion in their larger statewide assessments.

“We are proud to provide our survey data to the DEEP, as Connecticut is one of only a few states that use data collected by volunteers to make water quality assessments,” says Executive Director, Carol Haskins. “With nearly 6,000 miles of flowing water in Connecticut and DEEP’s efforts to restore degraded waters, we know local volunteers are a huge asset in the effort to determine the health of rivers and streams across the state. There are so many small, high quality streams that provide cool, clean water needed to sustain sensitive fish and other critters, fill drinking water reservoirs, and are just plain pretty! These precious resources are also the most vulnerable to the threat of development and degradation. We cannot protect what we don’t know about - so we need volunteers to help document these water bodies.”

High quality streams identified through the macroinvertebrate sampling program are documented in DEEP’s biennial Water Quality Report to Congress, which includes the inventory of all waters monitored during a two year cycle. Water bodies not meeting standards for swimmable or fishable conditions are flagged as those needing corrective measures to restore quality, while healthy streams are flagged for protection.

PRWC’s annual Macroinvertebrate Surveys will take place on Saturday October 17 and Saturday October 24. Volunteers will be instructed where to meet after they sign up for one of the sampling sessions. Survey sessions will go on in light rain, but in the case of high streamflow conditions, downpours, or thunder, field sampling may be rescheduled.


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