Water Ways: Stream Ecology and Monitoring
Interstate Commission on the Potomac River Basin
What better way to learn about stream ecology and water pollution than to collect and identify the fascinating insects, crayfish, and shrimp-like scuds living in streams? ICPRB provides presentations, hands-on activities, and resources to help teachers (middle through high school classes) start stream ecology or monitoring programs. The presentations can be done as a series or as stand-alone lessons.
Bilingual lessons in English and Spanish are available here.
Overview: Introducing Stream Monitoring
This presentation can be used to introduce stream ecology and stream monitoring to students.
- Stream Chemistry Monitoring Presentation (PowerPoint | PDF with notes)
- Chemistry Inquiry and Lab (Teacher Instructions | High School | Middle School)
Biomonitoring with Benthic Macroinvertebrates
Kindergarten-Middle School Teachers
- The Cacapon Institute – The Potomac Highland Watershed School provides a game-like approach to learning about benthic macroinvertebrate identification and collection.
- Audubon Naturalist Society – Green Kids provides complete lesson plans and PowerPoints for grades 4-5, covering stream habitat, monitoring procedures, and equipment.
- Izaac Walton League of America – The Creek Freaks Program provides comprehensive teacher and student guides for extensive hands-on inquiries of stream ecosystems for grades 5-8.
High School Teachers
- Explore and Restore Maryland Streams, Maryland Department of Natural Resources Biological Assessment of Stream Health.
- Forms for doing biological and other surveys:
- Overall Student Data Sheet for All Stream Activities
- Coastal Overall Student Data Sheet (for streams in the coastal plain geographic province)
- Maryland Streamwaders Macroinvertebrates by Tolerance Levels, KEY
- Maryland Stream Health Map – view data collected on a stream near your school, using interactive maps and charts of the results
- Resource Guides:
- A Guide To Common Freshwater Invertebrates of North America, J. Reese Voshell, Jr. – Covers life habits and basic anatomy, color illustrations.
- Guide to Aquatic Insects & Crustaceans, Izaac Walton League of America – includes dichotomous key, descriptions of functional groups (feeding methods of different benthic macroinvertebrates)