Biomonitoring is the assessment of environmental health by inventorying the living creatures in the discreet environment. The Anoka Conservation District's stream biomonitoring focuses on benthic (bottom dwelling) macroinvertebrates (macro: large enough to see without a microscope; invertebrate: without a backbone), including aquatic insects, snails, leeches, clams, and crayfish. Macroinvertebrates spend all or part of their life cycle within the water. Certain macroinvertebrates, such as stoneflies, require high quality streams, while others, such as midges, thrive in poor quality streams. Because of their extended exposure to stream conditions and sensitivity to habitat and water quality, they can serve as indicators of stream quality. There are published pollution tolerance values for most macroinvertebrate families. We sample stream macroinvertebrates in May and October to assess stream health.
ACD involves student and citizen volunteers in the biomonitoring efforts. High school science classes have become the primary volunteers. The experience affords students an opportunity to learn scientific methodologies and become involved in management of natural resources locally. The ACD provides technical assistance and equipment to make this experience feasible for teachers, and guidance to ensure the results are reliable. Many schools have incorporated stream biomonitoring into graduation standards. Typically there are about seven high schools and 350+ students involved each year. The Anoka County biomonitoring program is part of a metro-wide program. All metro counties except Ramsey have a stream biomonitoring program. Each county used identical methodologies and communicate regularly.
Volunteers Monitoring Area Streams
|Andover High School||Coon Creek at Andover High School|
|Anoka High School||Rum River at Anoka High School|
|Blaine High School||Coon Creek at Egret St.|
|Centennial High School||Clearwater Creek behind Centerville City Hall|
|Anoka Conservation District||Rice Creek at Highway 65|
|St. Francis High School||Rum River at R.River North County Park|
|Forest Lake Area Learning Center||Hardwood Creekat Highway 140|