Collections continued

Remove the kick-net from the streambed and capture the collection: This is a very important step; since the sample collection is laborious you do not want to lose any of the macroinvertebrates collected by sloppy procedures here. Very slowly remove the rocks that have acted as anchors to hold the kick-net in place, rub them off while you remove the rocks, or you may choose to rub them before using them to anchor the kick-net in place.  While the net-holder grabs and holds the top of the net in-place the kicker grabs the bottom edge of the net near the handles.  The net is removed with a scooping motion, the kicker moved slightly forward and upward while the holder keeps the net steady so that no macroinvertebrates are lost from washing over the top of the kick-net.  Both persons then pick-up the net and roll it into a loose cylinder, securing the ends and taking it to the shoreline.  The collection bucket should be at the ready to accept the contents of the kick-net.
Place the net into the bucket: Slightly unwind the net so that it fits inside the bucket.  With a smaller bucket or a spray bottle, wash the contents of the kick-net into the bucket.  It will take several minutes and several washes to knock loose most of the macroinvertebrates.  Between each attempt, remove the net and check for macro-invertebrates that have not been dislodged.  Often these hardy clingers are found near the edges of the kick-net along the bottom-side and in the seams of the net.  Be sure to check the opposite side for macroinvertebrates that may have crawled in an attempt to escape.  You must be very careful not to overfill the bucket.  If the bucket begins to fill with stream water more than about two-thirds its heights, remove some of the water by seining it through the kick-net (hold the net tightly on the bucket and pour off the water) so that the water is poured off and the macroinvertebrates remain in the bucket.  The process is complete when you are satisfied that the kick-net has been thoroughly washed and most of the macroinvertebrates are now in the bucket.
Remove the captured invertebrates from the bucket and begin sorting: The goal of this step is to remove all captured macroinvertebrates so that they can be observed, identified and counted.  WV Save Our Streams recommends that you use several shallow white trays.  The best way to start is by trapping the macroinvertebrates as they are poured from the bucket.  Before starting the steps below, remove all larger materials that may have been collected with your sample from the bucket.  Make sure to check these for macroinvertebrates before they are discarded.  At certain times of the year leaves and other debris are very plentiful in the stream and this material must be sorted. (It is common to find many kinds of macroinvertebrates in leaf-packs; this material is one of their favorite places to live.)  The best way to deal with the leaves is to remove as many as possible, place them in smaller bucket or container and wash them to remove the macroinvertebrates.  Pay close attention to the leaves that appear chewed and have begun to decay.  Newly fallen leaves are less likely to have many macroinvertebrates. You can use a second bucket with your kick-net on top, and then pour the captured organisms over the net so that they are trapped against the net.  The pouring is stopped periodically so that the macroinvertebrates can be removed from the net and placed into the collection trays.  Small forceps are the best tool for this job; however the macroinvertebrates can also be removed by hand.  The easiest method is to use a wash bucket or EZ-strainer.  The EZ-strainer is available in a variety of mesh sizes and fits nicely inside a 3 ½ or 5-gallon bucket.  Your collections are poured directly into the EZ-strainer, or into a second bucket and then into the strainer if additional washing is necessary.  Click-Here for some homemade equipment ideas 
If your organization decides to complete independent surveys that include aquatic collections, you must apply for and receive a Scientific Collection Permit from the WVDNR.  Click-Here to view the SOS Program's permit.  (Back to SOPs)