Low gradient continued

COLLECTION AND EVALUATION PROCEDURES
1 A 100-meter reach that is representative of the characteristics of the stream should be selected. Whenever possible, the area should be at least 100 m upstream from any road or bridge crossing to minimize its effect on stream velocity, depth and overall habitat quality. There should be no major tributaries discharging to the stream in the study area. 
Before sampling, complete the physical/chemical field sheet to document site description, weather conditions and land use. After sampling, review this information for accuracy and completeness. 
Draw a map of the sampling reach. This map should include in-stream attributes (e.g., riffles, falls, fallen trees, pools, bends, etc.) and important structures, plants, and attributes of the bank and near stream areas. Use an arrow to indicate the direction of flow. Indicate the areas that were sampled for macroinvertebrates on the map. Approximate “river mile” to sampling reach for probable use in data management of the water re-source agency. If available, use hand-held GPS for latitude and longitude determination taken at the furthest downstream point of the sampling reach. 
Sampling always begins at the downstream end of the reach and proceeds upstream. A total of 10 jabs or kicks will be taken over the length of the reach; a single jab consists of forcefully thrusting the net into a productive habitat for a linear distance of 0.5 m. A kick is a stationary sampling accomplished by positioning the net and disturbing the substrate for a distance of 0.5 m upstream of the net. 
Place the netted material into the first collection pan.  Using forceps transfer any collected organisms to the second collection pan.  Complete your streamside (qualitative) biological assessment form from the organisms collected, or preserve the sample for later identification and analysis.  Document observations of aquatic flora and fauna. it is often a good idea regardless of the methof chosen to make qualitative estimates of macroinvertebrate composition and relative abundance as a cursory estimate of ecosystem health and to check adequacy of sampling. 
Record the percentage of each habitat type in the reach. Note the sampling gear used, and comment on conditions of the sampling, e.g., high flows, treacherous rocks, difficult access to stream, or anything that would indicate adverse sampling conditions.  Perform habitat assessment after sampling has been completed. (If this has not already been done for this site.  Having sampled the various microhabitats and walked the reach helps ensure a more accurate assessment. Conduct the habitat assessment with another team member, if possible. 
 
References and additional resources
CLICK-HERE for a PDF of the above information; CLICK-HERE for an SOS level-2 low gradient data sheet 
Comparison of single and multi-habitat protocols for collecting macroinvertebrates from wadeable streams (Journal of American Water Research)  
Field and laboratory methods for macroinvertebrate and habitat assessment of low-gradient streams (Mid-Atlantic Coastal Streams Workgroup) 
Macroinvertebrate sampling basics (Stroud Water Research Center) 
Multi-habitat macroinvertebrate sampling from wadeable streams (Georgia)  
Protocols for sampling aquatic invertebrates in freshwater wetlands (Maine)  
Protocols for sampling macroinvertebrates from wadeable streams (New Zealand)  
Rapid bioassessment protocols for use in wadeable streams and rivers (USEPA) 
Water watch biological stream assessment procedures (Kentucky) 
 

Note: If your organization decides to complete independent surveys that includes aquatic collections, you must apply for and receive a Scientific Collection Permit from the WVDNR.  CLICK-HERE to view the program's 2011 permit. [§20-2-50]