In September the FCCD school education and outreach program kicked off for the 2022-23 school year! Funded through the Department of Ecology, FCCD staff Becca and Maggie, traveled to the Entiat Fish Hatchery to teach local Douglas and Chelan County students about stream health and ecology by leading the Invertebrate Explorers station at Cascadia CD’s Kids in the Creek event.
Students collected macroinvertebrates in the stream using panel nets, brought them back to their stations to identify the species found, and then drew conclusions about the health of the stream based on the presence of species in their collections. Macroinvertebrates are often used as indicators for whether a stream is healthy or not based on which species are present. The presence of intolerant species (sensitive to pollution) in a watershed indicates the stream itself is healthy, presence of tolerant species (not as sensitive to pollution) indicates the stream is degraded or not as healthy.
In Douglas County our local waterways would host mostly tolerant species due to degradation of key stream health qualities like temperature, pH, and turbidity. When assessing progress of rehabilitation within our restoration sites, we often use this quick assessment for monitoring invertebrate species present in the stream to help indicate changes.
It was a wonderful way to get young people excited about environmental science!
Thank you to Cascadia Conservation District & the Department of Ecology!