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Friends has teamed up with the Izaak Walton League’s Virginia Save Our Streams program to offer training and certification in benthic macroinvertebrate (BMI) monitoring, and will be offering periodic trainings for volunteer monitors. Help our community learn more about the health of our watershed and monitor its health over time by becoming a certified volunteer monitor!

2023 MONITOR TRAINING: February 28, March 2, and March 11. Class FullCheck back for upcoming opportunities

2023 Identification Refresher Session: March 11, 1 – 3 pm. Click here to sign up!

Certification for BMI monitoring is a three-part process- in entails two classroom training sessions at the FNFSR Office in Woodstock–Introduction to Water Quality and Introduction to Benthic Macroinvertebrates– and one field certification session at Seven Bends State Park. 

Parts One and Two of BMI training can be completed virtually in preparation for the in-person field certification. If you are interested in pursuing a hybrid training, please contact for links to the online training resources.


Volunteer monitors collect and analyze data about these small insects living in streams twice per year, in the spring and fall. The sampling process takes two people, and about two hours to complete. This data is then compiled through the Virginia Save Our Streams database, where it is shared with the Virginia Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) for use in tracking progress of efforts to improve impaired areas, identifying areas for future DEQ monitoring. This data will also be used by Friends of the North Fork to educate the community about the health of the river.

Because volunteer monitors visit the same site at around the same time twice per year, they are extremely valuable for noting year-to-year changes, and can be the first to catch issues and identify pollution problems that may otherwise go unnoticed. If you are interested in becoming a certified Benthic Macroinvertebrate Monitor for Friends and the Izaak Walton League, sign up for the training above or email

If you want to find out more about monitoring and trainings, and how you can make a difference right near your own home or other by places you love in the North Fork watershed, contact our BMI Program Lead, Daisy Blakely, by email:

Check out the map below for the sites currently being monitored

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