Time for a Health Check of our Streams. Volunteers Needed!
Healthy streams play a vital role in supporting fish and wildlife populations in Virginia. Streams provide a variety of habitats and food sources for aquatic organisms, including fish and insects. In turn, these organisms are a crucial food source for larger animals like birds and mammals, making streams an essential part of the food web. Healthy streams support breeding and migration patterns for many species, allowing for the maintenance of diverse populations. Streams also play a crucial role in maintaining the overall health of ecosystems, including the quality of the air and water, and in regulating the climate.
Unfortunately, many streams in Virginia are under threat from pollution and habitat destruction. Agricultural and industrial runoff, as well as urbanization and development, can cause streams to become contaminated with harmful chemicals and sediment. This pollution can harm fish and wildlife populations, as well as make water unsafe for human use. Habitat destruction, including the removal of trees and vegetation along stream banks, can harm stream ecosystems. This can lead to erosion and deposits of sediment, smothering aquatic habitats and reducing water quality.
To ensure the continued health of streams in Virginia, it is essential to protect and restore their habitats. This includes protecting streamside vegetation, reducing pollution from agricultural and industrial sources, and encouraging responsible development practices. By working to protect and restore healthy streams, we can help to ensure the survival of fish and wildlife populations, maintain the health of ecosystems, and protect the quality of our water resources.
On Saturday May 13th (9:00 AM – 11:30 AM), we will be heading into our streams on or property to monitor their health. There will be several ways to volunteer – from getting in the water (12 - 24 inches deep) to collect the stream bugs, to identifying the different aquatic macroinvertebrates, to staying dry (and bug-free) - recording information on the samples collected. Volunteers of all ages are welcome. Please contact Erika Wettergreen, Conservation Chair, if you are interested in participated in this spring’s stream monitoring effort.
The Izaak Walton League’s Save Our Streams program trains volunteers to protect waterways from pollution and bring information about water quality to their communities. If you are interested in taking the free online training toward becoming a stream monitor, go to https://www.iwla.org/water/stream-monitoring
to start the process. (The training is not a requirement to volunteer.)
Save Our Streams:
Virginia Save Our Streams is a program of the Izaak Walton League of America.
Founded in 1922, the Izaak Walton League is one of the nation’s oldest and most respected conservation organizations. Virginians have the right to know whether our streams are safe for swimming, fishing, playing, and drinking. Virginia Save Our Streams monitors water quality of Virginia’s streams and educates the public about the importance of clean water. We are still looking for the macroinvertebrate equipment.
An option for the macroinvertebrate equipment would be to make our own. The instructions are http://dep.wv.gov/WWE/getinvolved/sos/Documents/SOSKit/HomemadeEquipment.pdf. simple and easy to follow. One of the Committee members
has a source for a few more pieces of PVC. Look and see if you can help.
The chapter seeks volunteers to help start a stream-monitoring program for five areas around the property. If interested contact Eric Brown or Erika Wettergreen on how you can help.