Biological stream monitoring provides an integrated view of overall water quality in a stream over a period of time. ECO’s biomonitoring program uses aquatic macroinvertebrates, which includes insects, snails and worms. The aquatic macroinvertebrate community is a good indicator of stream water quality because the makeup of the community is dependent on and sensitive to chemical and physical changes in the stream channel. Click here for presentation on aquatic macroinvertebrate identification.
ECO volunteers currently monitor 26 sites in Henderson County twice a year (April and October). Many of the sites overlap with VWIN sites to provide an additional layer of data for water quality analysis. ECO uses the Stream Monitoring Information Exchange (SMIE) method. SMIE is a collaborative program of several organizations in Western North Carolina to train volunteers to perform biological monitoring. The SMIE sampling method is specifically designed to closely mimic the North Carolina Division of Water Quality (DWQ) collection techniques to facilitate more precise comparisons between SMIE and DWQ data than is possible with more basic volunteer biological monitoring methods. Refresh your biomonitoring skills at the bottom of this webpage with our new webinars! The following link is a macroinvertebrate field identification form that our monitoring teams fill out during sampling: Biomonitoring Field ID Form. The water quality survey sheet is also filled out during sampling time in the field.Attention SMIE volunteers! Please help us keep better track of your hours by filling out your volunteered time on this program. SMIE teams should fill out ONLY ONE sheet for each sampling site and combine ALL volunteer time per site.
Biological monitoring data is now being incorporated into the annual VWIN reports for Henderson County. The data is also shared directly with DWQ’s Biological Assessment Unit to help identify problem streams, or to identify “outstanding resource waters” for additional protections.
To learn more about ECO’s monitoring results, please look at our interactive map, comprehensive biomonitoring data or Annual VWIN reports for Henderson County. (See also VWIN section below.)
- Water Quality Interactive Map
- Macroinvertebrate Photo Guide
- Aquatic Macroinvertebrate Dichotomous Key
- SMIE Data Comparison Tables 2011-2012
- SMIE 2011 Annual Report
- SMIE 2010 Annual Report
- SMIE 2009 Annual Report
See VWIN Annual Reports Including Biomonitoring Data in VWIN section below.
If you are interested in becoming a biomonitoring volunteer, please contact ECO.