This dragonfly is a benthic macroinvertebrate in the last and shortest stage of its life. Before transforming and taking flight, benthic macroinvertebrates spend most of their lives in streams.
These macroinvertebrates are important to wetland and stream ecosystems – eating and being eaten – and keeping the balance in the intricate web of life. They also play an important part in helping scientists understand stream health. Some macroinvertebrates are very sensitive to pollutants while other species of macroinvertebrates can tolerate many stressors such as low dissolved oxygen levels. The presence and absence of these sensitive and tolerant species helps scientists identify if a stream is potentially impaired or has no known impact. NYS DEC’s Water Assessments by Volunteer Evaluators (WAVE) project provides individuals with the opportunity to be community scientists by participating in stream assessments. In Rockland, this program is run by the Rockland County Soil and Water Conservation District. Due to COVID19, the project has limited its participation to members of the Rockland Conversation and Service Corps, a program of the Rockland County Youth Bureau. Stay tuned to the website for community science project updates!