Good water quality favors a diverse and abundant macroinvertebrate population. A dip in oxygen levels or a plume of sediment can make the stream inhospitable to more sensitive animals.
Benthic macroinvertebrates--small, bottom-dwelling animals without backbones-can reveal much about the health of their watery environment.
Since these bottom-dwelling animals more or less stay put--in contrast to fish, which swim considerable distances--they are reliable indicators of water quality at any given location.
If you like to hike and wade in shallow streams, join us to collect macroinvertebrates in spring through Maryland DNR's Stream Waders program.