2020 Benthic Monitoring Update

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FOMR’s 2020 benthic monitoring was started and then abruptly halted in April due to COVID-19 disruptions.  FOMR was on track to become a DEQ tier 3 program, but that will have to wait until 2021 also.

From Pete Cooper, FOMR’s Benthic Coordinator:  

With much luck, we will be able to finish the new monitor training and resume more normal monitoring (including the Quality Assurance necessary for tier 3) in the spring of 2021 or, more likely, the fall of 2021. We have, however, learned much this spring using the new fine mesh nets and the new protocol and consulting with DEQ and RCA (Rivanna Conservation Alliance).”

Spring Benthic Results

In April, we were able to complete five of our nine sites by using “same household” teams of monitors.  Hopefully, this fall we will be able to complete all nine sites.

Each site monitored receives a “score” – a number between 0 and 12 – from the VA Save Our Streams (SOS) Multimetric Index.  The score is a representation of the suitability of the stream for aquatic life.  It is determined by the number and kind of aquatic critters found in a water sample.

  • An SOS Index score of 9 to 12 = Acceptable ecological condition for aquatic life
  • An SOS Index score of 8 = Ecological condition cannot be determined at this time (Gray Zone)
  • An SOS Index score of 0 to 7 = Unacceptable ecological condition for aquatic life

April’s scores are listed below.  Click on the link beside each score for a graph of the results from 2011 to 2020 for each of  the five sites monitored  in April.

Summerdean Road, Swoope 7  graph of 2011-2020

Dog Back Lane, Swoope 9  graph of 2011-2020

Green Hills Lane, Churchville 11  graph of 2011-2020

Honeysuckle Hill, Middle River Road (near Springhill) 9     graph of 2011-2020

Cline Lane, Laurel Hill 9  graph of 2011-2020


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