3 Member Bobs Receive Reston Stream Award

NVATU Members Receive Reston Volunteer Group of the Year Award
Bob Bidwell, Bob Parker, and Bob Speegle of NVATU and their team received the Reston Association Adult Group Volunteer of the Year Award on April 19 for their stream monitoring efforts. The team was started by Bob Bidwell about sixteen years ago. Burt Weisman, longtime NVATU vice president and activist, now deceased, soon joined, and others followed.

The Reston Association is the homeowners association for the new town, which was founded in the 1960s. It now has approximately 61,000 residents and 7,500 acres, including much parkland and open space. The association monitors Reston’s streams quarterly to assess their health. Most monitoring is done by volunteers collecting benthic macroinvertebrate samples and assessing stream health according to a scientific protocol developed by the Izaak Walton League and refined by Virginia Tech for the league's Virginia Save Our Streams program (VASOS).

Four times each year, NVATU’s Bobs and their teammates sample their stream. One person holds a 3 x 3 foot net in the stream while another scrapes the stream bottom so macroinvertebrate insects flow into the net. The team then puts the net on a table and counts and categorizes the insects. The stream’s health is evaluated according to a twelve point scale. The stream can get points two ways: (1) for the presence of insects like mayflies and caddisflies that are intolerant of bad water; and (2) for the absence of insects like midges and non-insects like scuds that tolerate bad water.

The data from the team’s sampling is used by the Reston Association, VASOS, and Virginia's Department of Environmental Quality to assess the health of streams in Reston, Northern Virginia, and Virginia. The Northern Virginia Soil and Water Conservation District also monitors in northern Virginia outside Reston.

NVATU’s monitors started monitoring to learn more about trout stream insects. They’ve done that and much more. They’ve enjoyed learning things from each other, and they still have fun monitoring together. After all, where else can an adult get an award for splashing around in the water?

If you’re interested in becoming a stream monitor, contact Will Peterson of the Reston Association at wpeterson@reston.org or Dan Schwartz of the Northern Virginia Soil and Water Conservation District at daniel.schwartz@fairfaxcounty.gov, depending on where you want to monitor. NVATU’s stream monitoring Bobs strongly recommend the experience.

For article and photo see: https://issuu.com/restonassociation/docs/reston_april_2018/112