2014 Riffle Bioassessment by Volunteers Report
Table 3 once again provides a summary of the results by taxa type; Appendix C provides additional station detail including upstream area and predicted water quality score. Any taxa that was in the voucher that is not considered a most, moderately, or least wanted taxa was noted as an ‘other’ – so if you see ‘other counts’ higher than the five or six noted at the bottom of the volunteer data sheets this is the reason.
You may note throughout the text that we adjusted the size modifier to be based on actual watershed area – less than or equal to 15.0 mi2 is the target for RBV, as the goal of RBV is to find high quality, previously undocumented, small waterbodies. Last year we tried to offer the guidance of focusing on waterbodies with the names “brook, creek, etc.” and avoiding those with “river” in their name to direct you to smaller waterbodies – but as many of you pointed out, this was effective in all cases – some ‘brooks’ are VERY large, while some ‘rivers’ are actually quite small… So to keep it simple, we’re going to focus on actual watershed size moving forward regardless of waterbody name. Refer to Appendix C for upstream watershed area associated with your stations.
- Table 6 once again provides guidance on how to interpret your results and whether or not to consider re-monitoring a 2014 site during 2015. This is meant as general guidance – some programs have the luxury of having dozens of sites to choose from, while others may have only two… when in doubt please do not hesitate to contact me with questions!
- Pages 16-19 highlight two examples from volunteer efforts this year that may help you when explaining to your volunteers why we cannot use the program as evidence of degraded water quality or impairment, but rather only as a screening method to verify the presence of healthy stream and river segments.
- Pg 13 and 14 provide some summary information regarding which taxa are most common and least common statewide based on voucher results. This may (or may not) help when training your volunteers to do macroinvertebrate identifications. For example, of the 94 vouchers submitted, not a single one contained Drunella (panel 1) – therefore if your volunteer thinks they have found Drunella in their sample, you might want to double check as there’s a good chance it’s likely the ‘three-tailed’ mayfly or another look alike instead!
- This year’s report includes a contact list of Local RBV Program Coordinators in Appendix A, and, in Appendix B, a list of RBV programs by town. My hope is that these two materials combined will help direct new, interested volunteers to your programs, and encourage networking between coordinators.
- And lastly, a site photograph for each 2014 monitoring station is included at the end of the report in Appendix D. Thank you for taking the time to integrate the field photos into your programs. These photographs satisfy a wide variety of program needs, from serving as a QC check to verify sampling location, to documenting unusual flow or other conditions at the time of sampling to help understand ‘funky’ results, to helping DEEP identify locations where volunteers may be struggling to identify the microhabitat in the stream (i.e. riffle vs pool vs run areas of the stream). They also really help new volunteers understand where it is we are trying to focus our monitoring efforts and to put a face to what a ‘healthy stream’ in Connecticut looks like. Please encourage any volunteers who might be struggling to understand what an ideal RBV site or riffle ‘looks like’ to review the photos with stars – these are sites from which a voucher with four or more most wanted was successfully submitted in 2014.