Monitors use collecting nets, field tables, collecting pans, and microscopes that are provided by VA SOS. Team members wade into the stream and use the collecting nets to capture live aquatic insects in the riffle and pool portions of the stream. Forceps and eye droppers are used to pick the live insects from the net. The insects are then sorted, identified, counted, and recorded on a data sheet before they are released back into the stream.
The data are transcribed to a computer database maintained by FOMR and are used to prepare stream quality reports. Because the same stream site is sampled year after year, FOMR is able to report on trends in the health of the stream and its aquatic life.