Maine Audubon is looking for volunteers who like to explore, walk through stream, care about water quality and love to be outdoors for its community science project exploring water quality and stream health.

Volunteers take a stream sample in June 2022. Courtesy of Maine Audubon

Maine Audubon, in partnership with Trout Unlimited Merrymeeting Bay chapter, seeks volunteers to help sample Frost Gully Brook to determine what sensitive, moderately sensitive and tolerant large aquatic insects (macroinvertebrates) are present in the water post dam removal. Last summer, the last of the three dams on the Frost Gully Brook system were removed, freeing the tributary that flows into the Harraseeket River, which in turn flows into Casco Bay.

Participants will work in teams of three or four, sampling at a location in Freeport over the next year. Maine Audubon will provide the training, equipment, maps of the survey streams, and data forms and instructions. In-person training is from 5:30-7:30 p.m. on May 16 at Selene’s Fly Shop, 279 Water St., Gardiner (register in advance at; the online training option can be completed by watching two videos found at Email with any questions.

The data collected by community scientists will provide insight into water quality and the overall health of streams and rivers. Macroinvertebrates are excellent indicators of a changing environment, according to Maine Audubon. Some require cold, clean water and high-quality habitat. Others can tolerate warm, polluted water or poor habitat quality. So, the presence or absence of different species can inform Maine Audubon about both water quality and the ecological health of a stream. Macroinvertebrates are also an important food source for many other aquatic and semi-aquatic species; and they are often the basis for much of the stream food web. If there are very few insects in the stream, the rest of the aquatic food web will be affected.

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