As reported earlier this summer, we got our stream! It’s a pretty part of Eudora Park in Fairfax County, VA. Our stream is a section of the headwaters of Difficult Run, which eventually makes its way into the Potomac River and even farther downstream, the Chesapeake Bay. The summer count had to be completed in June, July, or August, so off we headed on August 31 to make our first count! We walked down the W&O bike path to an opening in the woods where we could approach the stream. Things looked good – the water was flowing, the plants looked healthy, not a lot of litter. Unfortunately, things aren’t always as they seem. We dipped our net and did the little mud dance 4 times and only found 21 invertebrates! Wow! The stream monitoring guidelines say you’re supposed to find at least 200 invertebrates. It turns out, our section of the stream is near the headwaters, which are areas that are very easy to develop around and OVER! It’s more difficult to bury the middle of a stream, but the very beginnings of a stream can be affected and destroyed by development of homes and offices in the surrounding area.
Many of us have moved to the suburbs because they’re pleasant places to live. It’s important to remember that greenmomsters in the suburbs need to be just as vigilant about environmental damage as our compatriots in the rural and urban areas. The types of homes we buy and build, the type of transportation we use, and what we put on our lawns really matters. Did you know that the average Chesapeake Bay home owner uses more insecticide and fertilizer on his or her lawn, acre for acre, than an average Chesapeake Bay farmer? Standing in our lifeless little stream, these facts ran through my head and became things that make you go “hmmmm.”
My family will head back out to our stream in November, hoping that this month was just a fluke. Keep your fingers crossed, and we’ll report back soon!