Foster Creek Conservation District
Foster Creek Conservation District

Kids in the Creek

For the past three events, Foster Creek CD has volunteered for Cascadia CD and U.S. Fish & Wildlife's Education Services to bring Kids in the Creek to North Central Washington's (NCW) high schools.  


Contact us if your school is in northern Douglas County and you would like to participate. 

This event is now a fall series.  It will be offered next in September 2023.


At the aquatic macro invertebrate station, students are taught how to collect samples using a D-net and a seine net. 


Students conduct samples in three different stream habitat types: pool, riffle, and glide.  

NCW students investigate their seine net sample with the help of USFWS. 

After the samples are collected, students separate the various types of macro invertebrates into observation containers.  Some samples are prepped to be viewed under a microscope. 


A dichotomous key (a tool to identify an organism in which each stage presents descriptions of two distinguishing characteristics, with a direction to another stage in the key, until the species is identified) is referenced to determine the macro invertebrates discovered in the stream. 

A caddisfly (Trichoptera) is a type of aquatic macro-invertebrate that is intolerant of water pollution, and therefore, an indicator of good water quality.  Caddisfly larvae play a vital role in aquatic ecosystems, especially in the Northwest, as they are a significant food source for many fish and water bird species. 


Caddisflies undergo metamorphosis through four life stages: egg, larval, pupal, and adult. 


The picture above displays two types of larvae cases found in NCW.  The first is made from lightweight stick debris and the other is a heavier case made from rocks, gravel, and sand.  Typically, the latter is used to weigh down the caddisfly in faster stream currents. 


These cases provide camouflage, shell protection from predators, and act as a barrier from the stream's abrasive substrate.  The silk created by the larvae used to weave these cases is produced by a gland in the lower lips, called a "labium".   


The shape of caddisfly cases, along with the types of materials used to create them, vary between different caddisfly species.  There are approximately 1,340 species in North America.  Examples of materials used to create these cases are sand, gravel, and sticks.



Aquatic Invertebrates that are Sensitive vs. Tolerant to Water Pollution
A users guide to evaluate stream health based on the macro invertebrates identified. This guide compares aquatic invertebrates that are generally tolerant and sensitive to water pollution. It depicts the roles aquatic invertebrates play in the river continuum, from the headwaters to the river.
Pollution Tolerant vs. Intolerant Aquati[...]
Adobe Acrobat document [1.2 MB]


We hope to see you at the next Kids in the Creek event!

Kids in the Creek is in partnership with: 

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Foster Creek Conservation District 203 S Rainier Waterville, WA 98858 509-888-6372 © Foster Creek CD