Water Quality: ‘We’re all in it together’

Crawdads, dragonfly nymphs, water pennies, caddis fly larvae and more are found in creeks near us. These ‘creek critters’ are correctly called macroinvertebrates. Get your feet in a creek or river this spring or summer and look for these macroinvertebrates. The amount and diversity of macroinvertebrates found in a creek show us the quality of the creek water. There are many macroinvertebrates that won’t live in a creek that has poor water quality. If you are playing in a creek this summer and find many different species of macroinvertebrates living on the bottom side of rocks, it is an indicator showing the creek water is of good quality.

To attract these macroinvertebrates, creeks need decent water flow and a non-mucky bottom. With siltation becoming more prevalent in our neighborhood streams, sometimes it takes a larger stream whose watershed is in a natural setting to find the fun ‘creek critters’.

This summer the Delaware Soil and Water Conservation District is hosting a community creeking night at 6:30 p.m.Thursday, July 11 at Ruffner Park in Galena. Wear older clothes and closed-toe shoes so you can get in the Little Walnut Creek. Professionals will show you how to identify macroinvertebrates and assess the water quality. If weather doesn’t cooperate, we will postpone the event until the evening of Thursday, July 25. Visit the Delaware Soil and Water Conservation District’s website closer to the event to get more information and details on the event. Event registration will be open in June.

On a conservation information note, if you and your family have a favorite creeking destination and have noticed changes in the creek bed, or a shift in diversity of macroinvertebrates, those factors serve as indicators that something negative has changed in the creek’s watershed. Changes such as an erosion problem, development of land, or runoff all contribute to creek water quality. Let’s work together to protect water.

-Column contributed by the Delaware Soil & Water Conservation District