SAVE OUR STREAMS
The Smith Mountain Lake Association (SMLA) teams up with the local Virginia Save Our Streams Program (VA SOS) and the Blue Ridge Foothills and Lakes (BRFAL) Chapter of the Virginia Master Naturalist Program to recruit individuals interested in water quality monitoring on small streams that eventually feed into the lake. Orientation sessions are scheduled based on interest.
Volunteer monitors are trained to collect and identify fresh water aquatic macroinvertebrates (critters) that live on the bottom of a stream (benthic area) on a quarterly basis. Information on the number and diversity of critters found is used to determine the quality of water flowing through the stream at a given point in time and is tracked for trends in the water quality over time.
Interested volunteers attend an orientation session designed to provide a basis for understanding water quality and how water quality is monitored. This is then followed by approximately three monitoring sessions in streams with certified trainers for hands-on experiences leading to certification.
Data collected is entered into the VA SOS database and used by the State Department of Environmental Quality in assessing the quality of Virginia's streams and rivers and identifying problems that need correction. The VA SOS data from streams feeding into Smith Mountain Lake complements the SMLA/Ferrum College Water Quality Monitoring Program (WQMP) which has set the standard across the nation for a volunteer lake monitoring program over the past twenty-seven years.
If you are interested in learning more about becoming a certified SOS monitor and/or the Orientation session, please leave a message with the SMLA office and one of our volunteers will follow-up with you.