By Jim Sauter
In morse code, “SOS” is a signal sequence of three dits, three dots, and another three dits spelling “S-O-S”. The expression “Save Our Ship” was used by sailors to signal for help for a vessel in distress. Much in the same way, the Izaak Walton League has adopted the expression “SOS” to mean “Saving Our Streams”.
What percent of our streams are currently being monitored in the United States? Best estimates are that about 30% are being monitored, and of those, over 50% are considered impaired in some way. That means that over 70% of the streams in our country are not being actively monitored. Many of those are also impaired with no data to determine trends and needs. We have made substantial progress in cleaning up our streams and lakes, but there is still a lot of work to do!
Recently, several of our TCTU Streamkeepers attended the Save Our Stream Training in Winona that was sponsored by the Izaak Walton League. The SOS water testing protocol contains many of the same chemical tests that we are currently doing plus the testing of macro invertebrates. The advantage of bio monitoring is that it may show trends from pollution that do not show up with chemical testing. Adding the bio testing component is something we may want to consider as we monitor the seven trout streams in our TCTU area.
Possible Future Plans for Bio Testing: SOS Certification
To enter bio and chemical data into the national database, the Clean Water Hub, participants must have SOS Certification. Currently we have three members that have expressed interest in getting the certification. Is this something of interest to you? Is there more interest? If so, you can go to the website to get additional information (i.e. at https://www.iwla.org/water/stream-monitoring/upcoming-water-monitoring-workshops/save-our-streams-certification ). You can also contact Jim Sauter at: email@example.com
We hope to continue the conversation about possible bio testing team(s) by determining the interest level, facilitating training opportunities, and purchasing and/or borrowing the equipment and supplies needed for bio testing.
Bio testing is done once or twice a year in the spring and fall of the year. We are hopeful that we could begin testing on one or more streams starting in the fall of 2023.
Do you need help identifying the bugs/ macro invertebrates on a stream? If so, these apps can be especially helpful.
What exactly is a macro invertebrate? Macro means these are bugs that we can see with the naked eye. Invertebrate means that these bugs have no backbone. Macro invertebrates compose about 95% of all animal species. That’s a lot of bugs. Here are some apps that you may find useful:
Creek Critters App
Ready to start monitoring, but not quite ready to take on official training and certification? Creek Critters has got you covered! This app guides you step by step through the process of finding and identifying bugs in streams. Creek Critters is easy and fun. Collect bugs by following simple step-by-step instructions and identify your bugs with an interactive identification key.
Once you’ve identified your bugs, Creek Critters does the rest! The app automatically calculates your Stream Health Score based on your findings. The score tells you how healthy your stream is – plus your results are added to the Clean Water Hub, our public database of water quality in America. Download Creek Critters FREE from the Apple Store or Google Play Store.
The Catch and the Hatch
Do you want to identify bugs AND determine what flies to use? Then the Catch and the Hatch App may be for you. Download The Catch and the Hatch App FREE from Apple Store or Google Play Store.
One additional bug/ macro invertebrate app that helps identify bugs is call the Aqua Bugs App. Download Aqua Bugs App FREE from Apple Store or Google Play Store.
Streamkeeper Tip of the Month
Have you discovered a fish kill or violation? If so, report it! Here are some helpful phone numbers. I suggest entering these numbers in your smartphone contact list!
Our “targeted” Streamkeepers are monitoring Belle, Eagle, Hay Creek, Little Cannon, Mall of America, South Branch Vermillion, and Trout Brook Creeks. Below are some recent chemical readings on these streams.
Hay Creek (pictured above - photos by Mike Stinson)
Mall of America Creek
South Branch Vermillion
“General” Streamkeepers are busy conducting more random and spontaneous monitoring of streams in Minnesota and Wisconsin.
General Streamkeepers - Minnesota
Spring Valley Creek
General Streamkeepers - Iowa
You can go to the WISEH2O app and find readings at Honey Creek, Doe Creek, Kleinlein Creek, and Rabbit Creek.
General Streamkeepers - Wisconsin
You can go to the WISEH2O app and find readings at Halfway Creek, Bruce Valley Creek, Chimney Rock Creek, Lowes Creek, Elk Creek, and the South Fork Kinni.
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