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Stream Monitoring

Taking notes of biological samplingThe Stormwater Department performs several different forms of monitoring and sampling in local streams and in the storm sewer system, as part of the city’s stormwater program required by federal and state regulations and permit.

The stream monitoring is scheduled in general on a cycle according to the HUC 12 watershed delineations (e.g. Sinking Creek, Lytle Creek, Overall Creek, Bear Branch).


City staff assesses streams biology using fish diversity and benthic macro invertebrate metrics. Streams are assessed visually (VSAs**) by noting characteristics such as:
  • Amount of silt on the stream bottom
  • Condition of stream banks with respect to erosion
  • Degree of buffer and canopy
  • Evidence of pollution
  • Presence of obstructions

**The Murfreesboro Stormwater Program employs a modified version of the Maryland Protocol for its visual stream surveys in compliance of NPDES permit rule 5.2. Staff members use mobile mapping devices to collect the location and photographs of problems and observations categorized in the protocol. Each problem found is ranked based on severity, accessibility, and the ability to correct. Once rankings are computed, problems are prioritized based on scores. Additionally staff conducts cursory/ non-analytical biological sampling as well a variety of other sampling parameters to supplement the visual stream surveys. Findings are intended to be a baseline for future sampling and can be found on the stream assessment web map with an accompanying report available online.

Later in the year the department will screen flowing springs as well as sample for e-coli. Finally in the fall the department will conduct a screening for illicit (non-storm waters such as wash water) discharges that may be entering the storm sewer system and into streams.

Available Resources

Stream Assessments