Images of Kitsap County
Public Communications (MS-11)
614 Division Street, Port Orchard, WA
Phone: 360.337.4598
Date: August 8, 2013
Contact: Renee Scherdnik, Water Resource Specialist
360.337.5777 or
No: 13-077


Volunteers needed to help monitor the health of streams in Kitsap County

(Kitsap County, WA) Kitsap County is looking for volunteers to help collect stream samples to measure the health of Kitsap County watersheds. The Kitsap County Surface and Stormwater Management’s (SSWM) watershed health monitoring program uses aquatic insects and other macroinvertebrates as a “bio-monitoring” tool to assess the health of Kitsap watersheds.

Forty-four sites on thirty-one streams are monitored. Sampling starts in August, and stream samples are collected every one to three years. Refer to the map link below to see 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."

Kitsap County staff and volunteers collecting
benthic macroinvertebrate samples.

Benthic macroinvertebrate monitoring takes place Tuesdays through Thursdays from August 15 through October 15, morning and afternoon shifts are available. Each collection takes 2-3 hours. No experience is needed – just the ability to walk along uneven stream beds and follow specific protocols.

For more information visit SSWM’s website at

Please contact Renee Scherdnik if you are interested in volunteering at (360) 337-5777 or

Related Links:


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

Last Updated:  May 27, 2014