Watershed Land Trust, Inc.

Welcome to the Watershed Land Trust (WLT) as a local affiliate of the WLT.  You are about to embark on
some of the coolest programs imaginable.  This program is geared toward, but not necessarily limited to,
environmental and science minded students interested in land stewardship.  

It is the intent of this program to an enrichment program with a focus on the sciences.  Through this
program, you will be classified as a watershed group with the guidance of the WLT.  The watershed group
would have the opportunity to work within the Adopt-a-Wetland, Adopt-a-Stream, and Adopt-a-Riparian
Buffer programs with the WLT.  Opportunities will also be available for Steam Cleans and other service-hour
related type functions and community events.  You may even be the group organizing the events!

We can apply to raise funding for special events/projects including restoration opportunities with the
guidance of the WLT.  All we need is a dream, some science, and the manpower to perform.

This program is specifically designed for science students at the middle school, high school, and college
levels.  Other civic groups are invited as well.  Many thanks go out to the other environmental organization's
and agency's Adopt-A-Wetland programs for their hard work and efforts in establishing similar protocol.

Program Goals

The WLT Adopt-A-Stream and Adopt-A-Buffer Program is a hands-on education program that promotes
conservation and land stewardship through volunteer monitoring.   Although the WLT is based in Kansas,
this program is open to the entire USA.

The goals are to:

1. Educate the public on the importance of streams
2. Increase public awareness of water quality issues
3. Train students and citizens to monitor and protect streams
4. Collect baseline  data
5.  Move the curriculum outdoors

What Can I Do?

The WLT Adopt-A-Stream and Adopt-A-Buffer Program invites you to form a chapter of the WLT as a
monitoring group and “adopt” a wetland. Our current volunteer groups include school classes 5th grade and
up, civic organizations, individuals, families, neighbors, friends, clubs, and companies. Your group should
have a sponsor teacher/adult and contact the WLT  Program to obtain free training material. Instruction will
be provided on the water quality monitoring and/or biological-sampling methods used to determine stream
habitat health. The workshops involve hands-on activities and certificates are awarded upon completion. All
the supplies your monitoring group will need to collect data for an annual period are provided on a loan
basis. All the data collected by volunteers is compiled by the WLT and the Watershed Institute (TWI) and
added to the Environmental Protection water quality database maintained at the TWI office. Each group is
provided with an annual report summarizing the data collected at their respective sites. While monitoring we
ask that you adhere to our safety recommendations and immediately report any emergencies such as oil
spills, die off events, and fish kills to our “Steam Emergency Team”. Volunteers are also encouraged to
participate in the statewide annual cleanup events usually held in the spring and fall.

Monitoring Levels:

Various monitoring options are available, some involving more of an effort than others. We will help you to
select the most appropriate level of monitoring for your group.

Visual Survey:

What:  A visual and physical evaluation of steam/buffer conditions.
Why:  Critical water pollution, habitat damage and “die off” can be detected through a visual survey.
When:  Quarterly

Chemical Monitoring:

What:  An evaluation of wetland health based on water quality (e.g. salinity, pH, dissolved oxygen,
Why:  Salinity concentration can affect the distribution and abundance of  organisms. The pH tells us if the
water is acidic or basic and changes can indicate a pollution event. Oxygen and temperature are related to
the respiration and biological activity or aquatic organisms. Measurements of settleable solids are used to
indicate an excess of sediment or other material in the water that can be a response to erosion. Solids can
clog fish gills, deplete oxygen levels and suffocate sessile organisms.
When:  Monthly

Biological Monitoring:

What:  An evaluation of wetland health based on the abundance and diversity of plants and animals.
Why:  Changes in the composition of a plant and animal inventory can indicate habitat health. Healthy
ecosystems usually contain great diversity. Typically, stressed habitats support less species with a greater
number of individuals. Biological monitoring is also important in determining the spread of invasive species.
When:  Quarterly

Stream Monitoring Manual
Watershed Land Trust

Frank Austenfeld, J.D.
Executive Director
7211 W. 98th Terr.
Ste. 140
Overland Park, KS 66212

"At some point the will to conserve
our natural resources has to rise up
from the heart and soul of the
people—citizens themselves taking
conservation into their own hands,
and along with the support of their
government, making it happen."
Mollie H. Beattie, former Director,
U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service