Biosurvey Equipment

Most of the equipment listed in section one is provided at no charge to volunteer monitoring groups who complete a stream monitoring certification workshop and agree to a Memorandum of Understanding.

In most cases the program can provide one set of equipment for each group; however, in certain situations the program may be able to provide multiple sets or additional supplies if the group has many stations and plans to have several teams of monitors working simultaneously.

Section 1 provides examples of the basic equipment needed to perform a level-one biosurvey. Section 2 provides optional equipment that should be added to your biosurvey kit if a more advanced evaluation is preferred. At this time the program does not charge for basic equipment; however, we do not provide funds for optional equipment. Note: If a group does not use the equipment provided within one year, all items must be returned. The equipment links provided below are for examples only; they are not an endorsement of a specific company or product brand. We also provide some homemade equipment ideas. Note which supplies are provided. Other recommended equipment within section 1 may be available. The SOS Coordinator will help determine your monitoring group's needs and work with you to get the right supplies and equipment.

The approximate value of the basic kit is $250-$350, adding additional items will cost another $50; in order to be eligible to receive the basic kit, monitoring groups must agree to and sign the Memorandum of Understanding.

  • Certification Workshop

    Included here is need-to-know information about scheduling, studying for and what to expect during a stream monitoring workshop.

  • Memorandum of Understanding

    The terms and conditions of the MOU are described. Read these carefully, then download and complete the appropriate forms and submit your MOU to the coordinator.

  • Homeade Equipment Ideas

    Homemade macroinvertebrate equipment ideas.

Basic Biosurvey Equipment Kit

Section 1 - Basic


  • Student-Grade Kick-Net

    Used to collect benthic macroinvertebrates from riffle or run habitats; it requires at least two people. Note: Kick-nets require poles, which are not provided.

  • Box Magnifiers

    Provide 2x-4x magnification making it easy to identify to the order or class level.

  • Magnifying Loupe

    Provides 10x magnification so more specific creatures can be distinguished; with practice the user can identify many common families in the field.

  • EZ Strainer

    Used to help sort macroinvertebrates from buckets after the kick-net is rinsed; this device fits perfectly into a 5 or 3.5 gallon bucket and comes in a variety of mesh sizes. A 500 micron soil sieve is another option.

  • Larval Tray

    A temporary holding pan to keep the macroinvertebrates alive while they are being counted and identified; ice cube trays are also effective.

  • pH Test Strips

    A wide range litmus paper for estimating pH.

  •  Featherweight Forceps

    Flexible forceps that are excellen​t for handling and capturing delicate specimens.

  • Turkey Baster

    Makes it easy to capture fast-moving macroinvertebrates from the larval tray.

  • Thermometer

    A non-mercury submersible type for measuring stream temperature.


Below are additional items that are needed to complete the basic kit. Note: These items are the responsibility of the volunteer monitoring group. Other test kits such as dissolved oxygen, nutrients or bacteria should be added as needed.

  • 5-Gallon Bucket

    This and smaller buckets are used to collect macroinvertebrates that are rinsed from the kick-net; also an excellent device for carrying supplies and equipment.

  •  Straight Edge

    Used to measure stream depth and velocity; velocity is determined by how much the water will rise up the straight edge.

  • Open-Reel Tapes (100 and/or 300 feet)

    Used to measure stream width and determine your reach boundary.

  • Spray Bottle

    Used to wash the strainer so that the small macroinvertebrates are easier to see.

  • Scrub Brush

    Used to scrub cobble sized rocks during sample collections.

Section 2 - Advanced

  • Professional Kick-Net
  • Rectangular Net or D-Net
  • Buckets (2 - 3.5 gallon)
  • Disposable Gloves
  • Specimen Vials
  • Sample Storage Bottles
  • Specimen Preservation
  • Dissecting Scope
  • GPS and Digital Camera
  • Global Flow Probe
  • Coliscan Easygel

At the discretion of the coordinator, many of the items in section 1 are provided at no charge. This does not include buckets, reel tape, spray bottles, or a brush; which should be added to the equipment provided. The volunteer group is responsible for the cost of additional items.Note: Save Our Streams does not provide water chemistry kits. However, the program can recommend options from LaMotte and others.

  • Water Chemistry Kits

    LaMotte offers a wide vareity of water quality analysis options. The Save Our Streams coordinator and the WIB's basin coordinators can help choose the options right for your group.