Adopt-a-Stream (AAS) is a Community Science program whereby everyday people can help scientists gather data by monitoring the health of local waterways. Volunteers are trained to assess chemical and biological factors that impact the health of a stream including pH, dissolved oxygen, temperature, and the abundance and diversity of macro-invertebrates (small stream bed organisms). This hands-on educational program is fun for all ages and any level of involvement is welcome.
The goals of Adopt-A-Stream are to:
A - Increase public Awareness about water quality issues in the state of Georgia
D - Collect baseline water quality Data that will assist in understanding the health of our waterways
O - Gather Observations that serve as indicators to water and habitat health
P - Encourage Partnerships between individuals and local government in an effort to protect our waterways.
T - Provide the Tools and Training to empower volunteers to take an active role in the stewardship of their local waterways.
KFCB Adopt-A-Stream Certification Workshops are held twice per year as an extension of Georgia Adopt-a Stream, the state volunteer water quality monitoring program. All data collected by our volunteers is entered into the state's database and is accessible on their website.
WHAT DO THE ADOPT-A-STREAM WORKSHOPS ENTAIL?
The Chemical Workshop is designed to teach volunteers how to assess stream quality by conducting chemical tests using hand-held field equipment. Testing includes the monitoring of: dissolved oxygen, conductivity, pH, and temperature. Volunteers are given a field test and written test to assess their ability to collect accurate and precise data.
The Macroinvertebrate Workshop focuses on sampling, identifying, and counting small stream bed organisms such as Dragonfly and Mayfly nymphs, crawfish, and snails. Macroinvertebrates are impacted by all the stresses that occur in a stream, both naturally occurring and man-made. The abundance and diversity of macroinvertebrates found is an indication of overall stream quality. Attendees begin in the classroom learning to identify macroinvertebrates and then proceed to a creek or stream to collect samples. Note: most macroinvertebrates are too tiny to freak people out who get freaked out by bugs!
The Bacterial Workshop focuses on proper collection of a water sample; transfer of the sample onto plates that will be incubated, and proper interpretation of results.
Attendees who score at least an 90% on a written exam and pass the field test portion will be considered a certified Adopt-A-Stream Volunteer for one year.
WHAT DO ADOPT-A-STREAM VOLUNTEERS DO?
Volunteers visit a pre-selected creek or stream on a regular basis, report problems, and collect water quality data utilizing training and supplies provided by KFCB. Volunteers may be Certified individuals or may accompany a Certified individual.
The 3 main types of data gathered are based upon:
Chemical Testing is done on a monthly basis and involves the use of field kits to collect air and water temperatures, pH, and dissolved oxygen readings.
Macroinvertebrate Monitoring is conducted quarterly and involves the use of special nets to collect and identify small stream bed organisms, visible to the naked eye (including insects, crustaceans, worms, snails, and clams) which are released back into the water unharmed.
Bacterial Monitoring is conducted on a monthly basis and involves collecting water samples from waterways to test for the presence and level of E.coli growth.
Frogs (and toads) play an important role in our ecosystem and are excellent indicators of environmental health. Forsyth County Master Naturalists and KFCB co-created a Frog Monitoring Program where participants are taught how to report on the calls of local frogs and the visible presence of frogs and other amphibians. Over time, the data could be utilized to make land-use decisions that benefit not only the environment and amphibian populations, but also our own lives.