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Monitoring of our Streams
Visual Stream Assessments
Visual Stream Assessment in Sinking CreekVisual stream assessments allow staff to walk streams in a sub watershed yearly to get a true picture of stream health. From mapping bank erosion to measuring flow, these assessments can gauge the quality of a stream to mark the progression of erosion. Staff can understand a stream over time as a stream gets assessed once every 5 or 6 years.

Stream Assessments

Stormwater Sampling
Stormwater outfalls are sampled for various parameter during all seasons. Sampling stormwater outfalls over the course of a rain event can reveal a lot about the upstream basin and possible sources of pollution.

Dry Weather Screening – Illicit Discharge Detection Elimination
IDDE Hot SpotStaff conducts a variety sampling and screening activities during dry times designed to find illicit discharges and pollution sources to our streams. In addition to screening stormwater outfalls to local streams, staff also screens hot spots or areas that have a higher probability for illicit discharges.

Biological Sampling
Sampling for small aquatic bugs called macro invertebrates is a very effective way to understand the general quality of a stream. Some of these bugs need very specific habitats to live in and are sensitive to pollution. Other species of these bugs can live in polluted water. For instance, stoneflies need clear water with plenty of organic input into the stream while caddis flies need adequate substrate material to build casing which they live in. Both are very sensitive to pollution. These species won't be found in a stream with no vegetation and a streambed covered in sediment. Ailing streams could however support pollution tolerant species like midges and worms.

Tennessee Macroinvertebrate Index (TMI) is a score generated by professional biologist to using several metrics to indicate the health of a stream.

Cursory sampling

In house biological sampling is conducted annually to determine a water 
quality baseline. Organisms are identified and broadly counted to know whether species rare, common, abundant, or dominant.
Sorting macroinvertebrates

Professional Sampling
Sampling is hired out to a professional biologist to lab analyze using the official standard operating procedures. This sampling is done biannually to keep a baseline of TMI scores.