The Biocitizen Corps was up to its knees in chilly flowing water again this Fall, catching and inventory the bugs who live in the substrates of our rivers and brooks.

River bugs that trout love to eat, & that require cold oxygen-rich water, are the ones we hope to catch, because not only do trout (and trout fishers) love them; they can’t live in polluted water. If we find a lot of them, our river is clean and healthy. If we don’t, then … uh oh.

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We follow EPA protocols for data collection, and have been building “health histories” of the East Branch of the Westfield River and Dead Branch Brook in Chesterfield, the Mill River in Northampton, the North Branch of the Manhan River in Northampton and Westhampton, and the North River in Colrain.

Rapid Biotic Assessments 2014

Rapid Biotic Assessments 2013

As you’d expect, Irene drastically altered local river ecology

2010 Rapid Biotic Assessment results!

This year we took a break on doing Sodom Brook near HRHS in Westhampton, but we’ll return next year.

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In general, the rivers and brooks in Chesterfield are colder, have more oxygen and provide better habitat and food for river bugs than those in Northampton. The results from the Mill River were, in fact, rather poor this year.

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It is our hope that Massachusetts will someday do what Connecticut does: have a Department of Environmental Protection that supports, and provides guidance and a database for, citizens and students doing RBAs.

Come on Massachusetts, come on river lovers! Let’s show we love our rivers by doing these annual health check ups! The Corps will do them again next September—and you’ll be invited to join us.

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Thank you Biocitizen Corps 2015!!!! woowoo:
Phoebe Gelbard, Jonathan and Kelly Maginnis, Cyril Rees-Burton, Jonah & Talia & Jordana & Michael Willis, Snowden & Brent Blue-Helf, Christopher Zima, Huxley & Dashiell Poulson-Filas, Hilltown Families, Sienna Wildfield, Erica Liebermann, Casey Bestier, Loiusa Kimball, Persephone Sarantidis, Linden & Rowan & Jon Reichard, Heather Cipo, Robin Huntley, Jen Reese, Devon Buchanan, Henry Jones, Haley Randall, Paige King, Hunter King, Rachel Dodge, Rylee Hager, Chris Miller, Aeva Hazlett, Victoria Miller, Madeleine Perrault, Alex Carson, Mason Lollis-Taylor, Ursa Heidinger

RBA 2015 map

 

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