The Western Slope Conservation Center has been collecting important water quality data in the North Fork of the Gunnison River watershed for over 15 years as part of the Colorado River Watch program. The North Fork of the Gunnison has one of the longest, most consistent sets of data of any river in Colorado, thanks to our dedicated volunteers. Our volunteers sample and analyze water from many sites along the North Fork river system. Because of their commitment, we know a lot about our local water quality.
One of the most important methods for understanding the health of our river is to study the biological communities that live there. Benthic macroinvertebrates are animals without backbones that are large enough to see with the naked eye that live on the river bottom. Macroinvertebrates are good indicators of water quality because they require specific aquatic conditions for a healthy habitat. Macroinvertebrates are commonly used as water quality indicators because they are easy to sample, are situated at the bottom of the aquatic food web, and provide predictable life cycle patterns.
WSCC conducts our macroinvertebrate sampling in the North Fork at one key location every October when the widest range of life cycle stages can be found in the river system. Join us Oct. 10 at 8:30am at the ERO office in Hotchkiss for this once in a year opportunity to understand the health of our river from the bottom up! No previous knowledge or skills are necessary to help sample. Email Jake@theconservationcenter.org or call 970-527-5307 xt 208 for more information on how to get your feet wet!