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About a year ago, our family adopted a local stream, Difficult Run. We’ve been monitoring and blogging about the stream for the past year. Unfortunately, many sections of the stream have very little invertebrate life (due to pollutant runoff, siltation/erosion, etc). But this weekend, we surveyed our newest section of the stream and good news – it’s alive! It’s not healthy, but it’s alive! Yay!
It was a toasty summer afternoon, and we headed off to survey the stream in a county area near Great Falls National Park and the Potomac River. We headed out into the stream with our net and conducted the first of our one-minute “stream dances” – twisting in the stream in order to stir up and catch invertebrates. When we headed back to the bank with our catch, we found invertebrates! Netspinners, scuds, clams, beetles, even a few mayflies! The fact that we found invertebrates was great! Despite finding invertebrates, we know the stream isn’t totally healthy due to the type of invertebrates we found. Some invertebrates can live with quite a bit of water quality deterioration (think of them as the rats, crows, and pigeons of the stream world), while others demand cleaner water. The majority of our species were pretty tolerant of polluted conditions.
Our stream isn’t perfect, but we’re counting this one as a “win” – with the proper attention, our stream may someday be in the healthy range!