Aquatic insects (and other stream-bottom macro-invertebrates) are a particularly good measure of water quality since many are pollutant sensitive, are readily collected, and can be rapidly identified. Aquatic insects spend a lifecycle in the same stream section, so the species present (or absent) reveal a water quality history that a single water sample taken at one point in time cannot.
FRWA conducts macroinvertebrate sampling days in September and October to monitor streams of the watershed on a rotating basis. Volunteers are recruited and trained to do the sampling in a one-day workshop. We use the sampling method in “Rapid Bioassessment in Wadeable Streams and Rivers by Volunteer Monitors” developed by Mike Beauchene of the CT DEP. Results are available on DEP’s website.
Our 2010 results of Macroinvertebrate monitoring in the Massachusetts section of the Watershed can be viewed here.