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