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California State University East Bay Red Cedar River by Campus Questions

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Name:_________________________________________________ Section: __________
This week we are investigating the Red Cedar River. More specifically, we will be identifying macroinvertebrates and calculating a
Biotic Index to evaluate both pollution levels and water quality. This worksheet is divided into two sections: A. your personal
observations and inferences regarding the Red Cedar River, and B. learning more about why and how to collect
A. Either make observations based on your memory of the Red Cedar river or make observations of a photo of the Red Cedar
River online. When finished recording your observations, record one inference related to the pollution levels in the Red Cedar
River and one inference related to the overall quality of the Red Cedar River. (3pts)
Initial Observations:
Pollution Inference:
Water Quality Inference:
Watch the video and answer the questions below: Video Name: Biotic Index, running time (11:41)
1. What are macroinvertebrates? Provide three examples of aquatic macroinvertebrates. (3pts)
2. What are the criteria needed to create a biotic index score using aquatic macroinvertebrates? (3pts)
3. Explain why assessing a water body’s habitat types is important prior to collecting aquatic
macroinvertebrates? (3pts)
4. The video explains how to collect a complete Biotic Index Sample. What are the four habitat types
sampled in this video, and describe the procedure for collecting macroinvertebrates from these
habitat types. (5pts)
5. Why were macroinvertebrates specifically chosen to create Biotic Indices for water quality? (3pts)
Group 1: These are sensitive to pollutants. Circle each animal found.
Relative Size Key:
No. of group 1
Alderfly Larva
= larger than
= smaller than
Water Snipe
Fly Larva
Group 2: These are semi-sensitive to pollutants. Circle each animal found.
No. of group 2
Caddisfly Larva*
*All Caddisfly Larvae = 1
Crane Fly
Freshwater Mussel or
Fingernail clam
Damselfly tail
(side view)
Riffle Beetle
Damselfly Larva
Riffle Beetle
*All Riffle Beetles = 1
Group 3: These are semi-tolerant of pollutants. Circle each animal found.
No. of group 3
Black Fly
Non-Red Midge
Amphipod or Scud
Snails: Orb or Gilled (right side opening)
*All Snails = 1
Group 4: These are tolerant of pollutants. Circle each animal found.
No. of group 4
Bloodworm Midge
Larva (red)
Pouch Snail
(left side opening)
Isopod or Aquatic
For more information, call (608) 265-3887 or (608) 264-8948.
Download and print data sheets from
© 2014 University of Wisconsin. This publication is part of a seven-series set, “Water Action Volunteers – Volunteer Monitoring Factsheet Series.” All recording
forms are free and available from the WAV coordinator. WAV is a cooperative program between the University of Wisconsin-Extension & the Wisconsin
Department of Natural Resources. University of Wisconsin-Extension is an EEO/Affirmative Action employer and provides equal opportunities in employment
and programming, including Title IX and ADA requirements.
Recording Form for the Citizen Monitoring Biotic Index
Name: _________________________________________________________
Date: ________________
Stream Name: __________________________________________________
Time: ________________
Location: ____________________________________________________ Station Number: ____________________
(County, Road, Intersection, Other)
At this point, you should have collected a wide variety of aquatic
macroinvertebrates from your three sites. You will now categorize your
sample, using the Key to Macroinvertebrate Life in the River to help you
identify the macroinvertebrates found. The number of animals found is not
important; rather, the variety of types of macroinvertebrates and their
tolerance to pollution tells us the biotic index score. Before you begin,
check off the habitats from which you collected your sample (see right).
Undercut banks
Snag areas, tree roots, submerged logs
Leaf packs
1. You should have removed large debris (e.g. leaves, rocks, sticks) from your sample and placed this material in a separate basin (after
removing macroinvertebrates from it).
2. Check the basin with the debris to see if any aquatic macroinvertebrates crawled out. Add these animals to your prepared sample.
3. Fill the ice cube tray half-full with water.
4. Using plastic spoons or tweezers, (be careful not to kill the critters – ideally, you want to put them back in their habitat after you’re
finished) sort out the macroinvertebrates and place ones that look alike together in their own ice cube tray compartments. Sorting
and placing similar looking macroinvertebrates together will help insure that you find all varieties of species in the sample.
5. Refer to the Key to Macroinvertebrate Life in the River and the Citizen Monitoring Biotic Index to identify the aquatic
A. On the back of this page, circle the animals on the index that match those found in your sample.
B. Count the number of types of animals that are circled in each group and write that number in the box provided. Do not count
individual animals in your sample. Only count the number of types of animals circled in each group.
C. Enter each boxed number in work area below.
D. Multiply the entered number from each group by the group value.
E. Do this for all groups.
F. Total the number of animals circled.
G. Total the calculated values for all groups.
H. Divide the total values by the total number of types of animals that were found: TOTAL VALUES (b.) / TOTAL ANIMALS (a).
I. Record this number.
SHOW ALL MATH (Use space below to do your math computations)
No. of animals circled from group 1 __________ x 4 = __________
No. of animals circled from group 2 __________ x 3 = __________
No. of animals circled from group 3 __________ x 2 = __________
Index score:
How Healthy is the stream?
Good _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ 2.6 – 3.5
Poor _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ 1.0 – 2.0
No. of animals circled from group 4 __________ x 1 = __________
2.1 – 2.5
VALUE (b):
Divide totaled value (b)______by total no. of animals (a) ______for index score:
Report your results online at or submit your data to your local coordinator.
Call your local monitoring coordinator if you have questions about sampling or determining the Biotic Index Score.
Name:_____________________________________ Sec:________________
Part one
You are interested in determining the health of the Red Cedar River by campus. You collect a biotic
index sample from the river behind the library and find the following macroinvertebrates. Use the
biomonitoring worksheet and invertebrate key to determine the identify of each of the photos below.
Once you have identified the invertebrates, find the biotic index score follow along on the
biomonitoring worksheet (directions on the second page of that file). You do not need to turn in the
biomonitoring worksheet, it is just to help you with calculations.
Names (1.5 pts, Common names are fine):
_____________________ ________________________
Names (1 pt):
____ ________________
1. From the monitoring worksheet
Total Value (b): ________ / Total no. Animals (a): ________ = Biotic Index Score:___ _____
(1.5 pts)
2. Based on the above index score, how healthy is the Red Cedar River. Write a summary
statement on the river’s health using the terms macroinvertebrates, index score, and good, fair or
poor. Use the chart on the bottom right of the front page of the laminated sheet for guidance. (4pts)
3. List one macroinvertebrate that, if present, would have lowered your overall Biotic Index, AND one
macroinvertebrate, if present, would have increased your overall Biotic Index score? Be sure to
indicate which would lower, and which would increase the Biotic Index scores. (2pts)
4. In your own words, describe the concept of tolerance values. (2pts)
5. How do you suspect tolerance values were determined for macroinvertebrates? (2pts)
6. Explain two specific benefits to using a Biotic Index to assess water quality. Bullet or number
each of your answers. (2pts)
7. Explain two potential limitations to using a Biotic Index to assess water quality. Bullet or number
each of your answers. (2pts)
8. Assume you have unlimited funding and were given a five-year span to assess the health of the
Red Cedar River. Describe how you would make use of calculating a Biotic Index using
macroinvertebrates to best capture the overall health of the river? (2pts)
Part 2: Assessing Water Quality Using Modeling
In this section we will be using modeling approaches rather than direct sampling to examine water
quality and the impact of potential conservation actions. There are also more detailed instructions
in the powerpoint/ video.
If you are using your phone, the website shows up better if you flip your phone horizontal, if you are
doing this on your phone or run into other issues just let us know, we are happy to work with you.

Navigate to

Choose get started:

On the top right of the screen there is an option to search for a location:
This site will work for any location in the US so take a look at your favorite city, hometown,
etc. too if you’re curious but for this assignment we’ll use East Lansing

Type in East Lansing and hit enter. The map should zoom in to your chosen location (you can
also zoom in and out using the map).

On the left of the screen you will see a select boundary option
o Click the arrow and choose USGS Watershed unit (HUC-10)
Looking back at the map, notice it now shows the name of the watershed when you move
your cursor. Click anywhere your cursor says Red Cedar and the map will highlight just that

To learn a bit more about the Red Cedar watershed answer the following questions:
On the left side of the page you will see a tab with several options, they all show different data
1. What land cover type is most predominant (%) in the Red Cedar watershed? (1pt)
To answer click on the land tab, click the blue Turn on, and use the graph/table.
2. The rate at which runoff occurs depends heavily on soil conditions. What is the
predominant soil group? (1 pt) In your own words, what is the difference between
water infiltration and runoff? (1pt) Use the soil tab
3. How many point sources are in the Red Cedar watershed? (1pt) How much nitrogen
(TN load, kg/yr) do all the sources combined discharge in an average year? (1pt)
Choose the Pt sources tab to answer.
Now we are going to use the data to model yearly conditions in the Red Cedar watershed. Click on
the model option in the top left, then watershed multi-year model.
What is the biggest contributor of sediment (kg) to the watershed? (1pt) Name one method of
reducing the effects of this contributor (1pt) Water quality tab and scroll down
During what month is stream flow the highest? (1pt) Hydrology tab
Using this model, what contibutes more nitrogen to the watershed, point sources or farm
animals, and how much more? (1 pt) Water quality tab
Scenario: The Red Cedar starts to see harmful algae blooms associated with excess nitrogen and the
nearby communities decide to look for conservation practices to reduce the amount of nitrogen. How
would implementing no till agriculture on all agriculture fields (100%) in the watershed change
nitrogen levels? (2pts) Include if total nitrogen would increase/decrease as well as the percentage
difference (divide new scenario/current conditions). To see the numbers on the compare tab, scroll your
cursor over the graph or use the table view (icon at top right).
To model a conservation action choose “Add changes to this area” (top right), then “Conservation practice”, and choose the
action you want to take. A box will open up and ask how much area you want to modify. If you want to modify 100%, type
in the same number as shown for the area and hit apply. (For no till ag, there is 16,995.81 ha that can be modified)
Don’t forget to remove the modeled action before moving on. To do that click on the icon representing
the action (no till is a small green icon that appears in the top left) and hit remove.
There is a large amount of sediment entering the watershed from stream bank erosion. Using the
modeling similar to above determine if rural riparian buffers (called Veg Buffer Strips) or rural
streambank stabilization would be better management options for reducing sediment in the
watershed (assuming cost etc. are not factors and each option can be implemented on 100%
of rural streams). Hint: you will need to determine the effect of the two actions separately, once
where you only add vegetation buffers and once where you only add streamside stabilization. Don’t
forget to remove the actions you already modeled when running your second scenario (see above)
Sediment under current conditions ______ M kg (rounding is fine for these answers)
Sediment with rural vegetation buffers ________M kg
Sediment with rural streamside stabilization _____ M kg
Choice of management practice __________________

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