MODULE 04 - Stream Invertebrate Survey

You will be given instructions for sampling, counting, and indetifying benthic invertebrates. These are small, spineless animals such as insect larvae, worms, snails, clams, and crustaceans that live in or on the stream bottom.

Invertebrates play and important role in the aquatic food chain. They eat algae, leaves or organic debris and are food for fish, birds, amphibians, reptiles, and other insects in the stream ecosystem. The various kinds of invertebrates you find in your stream tell a lot about the health of your watershed. Some invertebrates tolerate organic pollution, and their abundance may suggest water quality problems. Others require good water quality, so their presence suggests a healthy stream.

This survey is thorough enough to detect moderate to severe stream degradtion and is relatively quick, easy, and inexpensive.

Project Approval Required Training Time Commitment (per year) Number of People Time of Year
no recommended 2 days to ongoing 2 or more early spring
early fall

Module 4 Resources

Download Module 4

The Bug Page

The Biological Integrity of Okanagan Streams: Using Benthic Invertebrates to Monitor Stream Health (.pdf)

Training Tips

The Insects of Cedar Creek
Stream Bug Monitoring - King County, Washington
Aquatic Bugs
Colouring Sheet (10x14 - 377kb)

Placemat (11x17 - 164kb)