Stonefly Search 2011
Our 157 volunteers arrived back safely, turned in their nets and waders, drank some coffee and thawed their toes. Thus ended the 2011 Stonefly Search. And now, the results are in!
Stoneflies are special organisms because they are only found in very clean water, and are indicators of a healthy stream. By tracking stonefly populations over time, HRWC is able to track the health of a stream.
Mann Creek- a local treasure
Mann Creek is located in Livingston County just northeast of the US-23/I-96 interchange. There must be something unusually good about this creek, and at HRWC we want to figure out what that is.
For the past 5 Stonefly Searches (since 2007), our volunteers have found 4 families of stoneflies in Mann Creek. This includes 2 stonefly families that can be found in creeks year round (Perlidae & Perlodidae), and 2 stonefly families that are normally only found in the winter (Capniidae & Taeniopterygidae). Even in the Huron’s healthiest streams, it is unusual to find more than 2 families of stoneflies during the Stonefly Search. So, Mann Creek is special indeed.
Mann Creek flows through a residential neighborhood- but one really interesting thing about Mann Creek is that there is a very wide natural riparian zone surrounding the creek. This riparian area provides habitat and food for stoneflies as branches and leaves fall into the creek. To see Mann Creek and its impressive riparian zone, click here.
Warning- Missing stoneflies on the north branch of Mill Creek!
This year, our volunteer teams failed to find stoneflies on two study sites located on the north branch of Mill Creek (Fletcher Road and Ivey Road). Stoneflies have been found at these sites in every sample taken since 1996, so the sudden absence of these bugs indicates a potential problem. Both teams reported that the stream seemed very mucky; perhaps there is an erosion problem upstream? HRWC plans to send other volunteer teams out to these sites in the next week to take more samples and look for water quality problems.
One of the best aspects of volunteers and stonefly monitoring is the speed of the results. Within a week, we have sampled 54 sites, identified two sites with potential problems, and now know where to focus our resources and follow-up. Thanks to everyone for your efforts!