Save Our Streams (SOS) Monitoring Equipment

Wondering about the quality in your neighborhood streams? Test the water today! We'll help you get started.


We use a few specific items of equipment to safely collect stream bugs for the Save Our Streams biological monitoring method. Below is information about where you can obtain each piece of equipment for reasonable prices.
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Create Your Own Rocky Bottom/Muddy Bottom Sampling Kit
Recommended equipment for your kit includes one kick seine (rocky bottom) or D-frame (muddy bottom) net, one aquatic thermometer, one hand-held magnifier lens, one set of forceps, two large magnifier boxes, and five small magnifier boxes. If you are teaching a group of new stream monitors, consider purchasing extra forceps, magnifier lenses, and magnifier boxes to allow the group to work together. Other items you should include in your kit are a white plastic tablecloth (for sorting through leaves and other items in your nets), white ice cube trays (for collecting critters), and knee-high boots.


Many different types of equipment can measure the chemical parameters used by the Izaak Walton League’s Save Our Streams water quality monitoring program. Equipment costs, ease of use, and accuracy vary greatly. The League recommends the following equipment. You should also have stopwatch or watch with a second hand.


The majority of physical monitoring uses visual observations and requires only a data form and a pencil. If taking a measurement of stream flow, additional equipment is needed, including string or twine, a permanent marker, a whiffle ball, and a stopwatch that goes to hundredths of a second. Most cell phone stop watches will suffice. In addition, flow measurements require a yard stick and an open-reel 100-foot measuring tape.

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