Upcoming Adopt-A-Stream Events:

Mar 04

Aquatic Monitoring Lab Nights

March 4 @ 5:30 pm - 7:30 pm
Mar 18

Aquatic Monitoring Lab Nights

March 18 @ 5:30 pm - 7:30 pm
Apr 01

Aquatic Monitoring Lab Nights

April 1 @ 5:30 pm - 7:30 pm

Be a watershed scientist

(families, friends & groups welcome)

Participate in important biology and chemistry monitoring through our popular Adopt-A-Stream program.

There are several ways to practice watershed science. And we train and equip you.

    Be a biologist

    • collect aquatic organisms 
    • learn field collection techniques and habitat assessment skills 
    • learn about aquatic insects 
    • identify benthic macroinvertebrates (BMIs) 

    Be a chemist

    • monitor water temperature
    • measure conductivity
    • assess chemical pH readings
    • evaluate dissolved oxygen
    • measure turbidity
    • collect nutrient samples

    Biology Work

    (get to know benthic macroinvertebrates)

    Knowing which benthic macroinvertebrates (BMIs) are thriving is a strong indicator of a stream’s water quality. Some BMIs tolerate certain levels of pollution, others can’t. Collecting, identifying and recording BMI populations helps us determine what’s really in the water.

    Using the standard California protocols, we collect field samples in the summer. Then—using microscopes in our monitoring lab—we analyze those water samples to identify and record types of aquatic organisms.

    Biology Volunteer Fast Facts


    Collect stream samples in the summer

    Lab work (analyzing samples) in winter


    Field sampling 5 times each summer (June–Aug)

    Lab analysis events twice a month (Nov–April)


    We sample 4–6 streams a year

    Lab work conducted at Truckee River Watershed Council offices; 10418 Donner Pass Rd; Truckee, CA

    Who: Anyone age 16 and up. We train you. No experience needed.

    Sign Up Here

    or call Beth
    530.550.8760 x1

    Chemistry Work

    (learn fieldwork measurement skills)

    Just like people, a river’s health can be measured. What’s its temperature? Color? Chemical pH level? How does it smell?

    Tracking the chemical and physical characteristics of a stream is important. It helps us learn what’s working—and where we can do more. 

    So volunteer as a family, a group or on your own. And get ready to wade in the water, use scientific techniques and have some fun. 

    Some families have been monitoring their adopted stream for years—inspiring the next generation of naturalists.

    Chemistry Volunteer Fast Facts


    Measure water characteristics

    Fill out field reports and take photos

    When: Four times a summer for 2-4 hours (May-Sept)
    Where: Get measurements from 25 different streams; including Donner Creek, Alder Creek and Little Truckee River
    Who: Any age if with their family. Or anyone age 16 and up. We train you. No experience needed.

    Sign Up Here

    or call Eben
    530.550.8760 x7

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