Adopt-A-Stream (AAS) is a program of the Georgia Department of Natural Resources, Environmental Protection Division. AAS seeks to raise public awareness about water quality, and it enlists the public's support and action in monitoring and protecting water resources. As a positive, cooperative approach to protecting water quality, AAS provides the opportunity for local citizens to take a leading role in protecting our waters.
Multiple levels of involvement are available in the AAS program, and at each level, volunteers agree to commit to a one-year project on a local water body. Depending on the degree of interest and involvement, some training in data collection, sampling, and analysis will be needed. As such, AAS provides opportunities for enhanced education in aquatic ecology as well as providing first hand experience in water quality data collection.
The program is great for ages 10 and up and for families as well. It allows the volunteer to get some hands on experience with real scientific data collection that is in turn entered into the EPD data base. Each certification requires a brief training workshop that includes hands on training as well as a short test. The following certifications are available: Chemical Assessment, Biological Assessment, and Bacterial Assessment. In 2012 you will also have the option of Wetland Monitoring and Amphibian Monitoring certifications.
The chemical assessment involves testing the physical properties of the water utilizing chemicals and probes. The basic tests include temperature, pH, conductivity, and dissolved oxygen. Advanced testing may include phosphates and nitrates.
The biological assessment involves collecting a sample of benthic macroinvertebrates (stream insects) that depend on good water quality and quality habitat on the stream bed for survival. By identifying and counting the macroinvertebrate population in a steam a water quality index can be achieved that is coupled with the other assessments to present a better overall understanding of water quality in the stream.
Bacteria monitoring is done by collecting a water sample, plating the sample on 3M Petrifilm, and counting bacteria colonies. The purpose of this assessment is to quickly assess health risks associated with high counts of bacteria in a waterway.
We all live in a watershed