Images of Kitsap County
Public Communications (MS-11)
614 Division Street, Port Orchard, WA
Phone: 360.337.4598
Date: October 15, 2010
Contact: Chris May
Kitsap County Surface and Stormwater Management
Phone: 360-337-5777 or
No: 10-55

Bugs being used to indicate water quality of streams

Kitsap County is collecting stream samples to measure the health of Kitsap County watersheds

(Port Orchard, WA) – Water quality specialists are collecting stream samples for Kitsap County Surface and Stormwater Management’s (SSWM) new watershed health monitoring program. SSWM uses aquatic insects and other macroinvertebrates as a “bio-monitoring” tool to assess the health of Kitsap watersheds.

Stream samples have been collected throughout the Puget Sound Region for more than 10 years. However, in Kitsap County the previous monitoring was sporadic. This effort is a consistent bi-annual event that will be evaluated using valid statistical methods. Previous monitoring data will be incorporated in future analysis.

Water Sampling at Carpenter Creek
     Fall 2010 Sampling - Carpenter Creek, Kingston, WA
     Photo courtesy of Stillwaters Environmental Education Center

Forty-four sites on thirty-one streams are being monitored. Sampling started in August, and stream samples will be collected once every two years at most locations. Click here to see a map of the Benthic Monitoring Sites

Benthic macroinvertebrates are organisms that live a portion of their life-cycle in or near the streambed and include insects, crustaceans, worms, snails, and clams. These animals are collected, placed into sample bottles, and sent to a lab for sorting and identification. The lab sends back a report including a score of the biotic integrity. Higher scores correspond to better stream “health.” A high scoring stream generally has a diverse group of benthic macroinvertebrates including many species that are sensitive to pollution.

"Collecting these samples is a great way to measure the health of our streams,” says Mindy Fohn, Kitsap County SSWM Water-Quality Program Manager. “The results from this monitoring will help us determine how well we are restoring and preventing pollution in our waterways."

Water sampling at Finn Creek
      Fall 2010 Sampling - Finn Creek, Hansville, WA
                   Photo courtesy of Finn Creek Stream Team

Mauro Heine, Kitsap County’s Water Quality Specialist, says “This is the first year of the monitoring program. We were able to collect samples from all the sites thanks to the involvement of so many enthusiastic staff and volunteers.”

Related Links:

More information about benthic sampling can be found at The results of this sampling will be available on this web site as well.

For more information about the Surface and Stormwater Management program, visit

Kitsap 1
(360) 337-5777

Doug Bear, Public Communication Manager
360-337-4598 or

Last Updated:  May 27, 2014