If you know what bugs live in a river, you can gauge its health.

IDing river bugs, Mill River below Baystate, Northampton
IDing river bugs, Mill River below Baystate, Northampton

So, every year just as Summer slips into Fall, the Biocitizen Corps ventures out and catches some, following EPA protocols, in a national citizen science initiative called “Rapid Bioassessments of Benthic Invertebrates.”

RBAing the E Branch of the Westfield River, W Chesterfield, downstream Rt 143 bridge
RBAing the E Branch of the Westfield River, W Chesterfield, downstream Rt 143 bridge

Certain bugs need lots of oxygen. The cleanest coldest water contains the most oxygen—so a healthy river has lots of hyperventilating bugs in it. The kind brook trout love to eat.

Stocked and wild trout somewhere in Nonotuck. We counted 17. Is that right?
Stocked and wild trout somewhere in Nonotuck. We counted 17. Is that right?

The Biocitizen Corps deserves a lot of thanks and applause!

Our RBA 2014 crew included Jonathan Maginnis, Calvin and Emmett Spencer, Andrew Marotta, Silas James, Christopher Zima, Huxley and Dashiell Filas-Polson, Heather Polson, Sienna Wildfield, Persephone and James Sarantidis, Summer Sorenson, Lydia Donatelli, Tina Cornell, Heather Cups, Loiusa Kimball, Hannah Wilk, Sabrina Montenegro, Robin Huntley and her 5th grade class at Colrain Central School and Tara O’Brien and her Honor Science class at Hampshire Regional High School.

This year’s captures took us to these places:

RBA 2014 map

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

capture at Dead Branch Brook
capture at Dead Branch Brook

Here are our data sheets for 2014.

Filling out the data sheet
Filling out the data sheet

We collected during a drought, so it’s possible that we saw less of certain species than usual: common stoneflies seemed to be less evident than in years past. In general, our rivers and brooks are healthy, though the bugs in Sodom Brook near Hampshire Regional High School keep getting smaller and its overall bug community less diverse. The Mill River in Northampton is holding steady. Our new RBA site on the North River in Colrain proved a pleasant surprise, as it contained many members of highly wanted hyperventilating bug families.

RBA 2014
RBA 2014_0001

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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RBA 2014_0003

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

RBA 2014_0004

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

RBA 2014_0005

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

RBA 2014_0006

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

RBA 2014_0007

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

RBA 2014_0008

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

THANK YOU BIOCITIZEN CORPS!!

Biocitizen Corps at work
Biocitizen Corps at work