BIOMAK (Biological Monitoring and Assessment of the Kayaderosseras) is a sampling program where volunteers collect and identify aquatic insects to determine how clean the water is. Using a “kick net” to collect the bugs and an illustrated chart to identify them, this data collection is the critical first step in a watershed-wide assessment of the Kayaderosseras and its tributaries.
FoK started the BIOMAK program in 2012 with help from Cornell Cooperative Extension (CCE) and the Saratoga County Water Quality Committee (SWQCC). Samples are taken at up to fifteen sites each summer.
Macroinvertebrates (aquatic insects, crustaceans, annelids/worms, etc.) are an important indicator of water quality and watershed health. Certain insects like stonefly, mayfly, and caddisfly that spend 2/3 of their life-cycle in freshwater streams are especially sensitive to pollutants. They are also the primary (and preferred) food of trout. Other insects such as scuds, worms, and midges, are able to tolerate and thrive in low-quality water. By “kick net” sampling sections of the stream at strategic locations we are able to compare the species captured and draw conclusions as to the quality of the water. The more clean water-loving insects we find, the higher the quality of the stream environment. The more pollution-tolerant insects found, the lower the quality of the stream environment.