What’s Swimming in Your Water?

HellgrammiteEver wonder what creepy crawlies live in your neighborhood creek? There’s an app for that.

The Audubon Naturalist Society (ANS) this past summer launched an app called “Creek Critters” that guides you through finding and identifying small aquatic organisms and the creation of a stream health report based on your findings. Fairfax County Park Authority volunteers have used the app, including a group that conducted a monitoring session on October 11 in South Run, not far from South Run RECenter.

Meaningful Watershed Education ExperienceThe Park Authority, ANS, the Northern Virginia Soil and Water Conservation District, the Fairfax chapter of the Virginia Master Naturalists, and Friends of Accotink Creek are partnering in this monitoring project. The Park Authority occasionally offers opportunities for you to join other volunteers and get into your streams, find and identify the living organisms (macroinvertebrates) that live there, and learn what these organisms tell us about stream health.

There are several places to seek information about joining any of these monitoring events.

For sites near Lake Accotink Park in Springfield, contact steward@accotink.org or see the calendar at www.accotink.org. For South Run sites, email Vera.Tangiri@gmail.com. And for information about surveys at most other streams in the county, visit https://volunteer.fairfaxcounty.gov and search for “stream monitoring” or email Dan.Schwartz@Fairfaxcounty.gov.

Download the free Creek Critters app from either the Apple App Store or Google Play. If you volunteer, you’ll need your smartphone and shoes or boots that will get wet. At scheduled events, all of the collection and identification information will be provided. For more information, contact Dan Schwartz at Dan.Schwartz@Fairfaxcounty.gov or call 703-324-1422.

Author David Ochs is the Manager of Stewardship Communications for the Resource Management Division of the Fairfax County Park Authority.


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About Fairfax County Park Authority

About Fairfax County Park Authority HISTORY: On December 6, 1950, the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors created the Fairfax County Park Authority. The Park Authority was authorized to make decisions concerning land acquisition, park development and operations in Fairfax County, Virginia. To date, 13 park bond referenda have been approved between 1959 and 2016. Today, the Park Authority has 427 parks on more than 23,000 acres of land. We offer 325 miles of trails, our most popular amenity. FACILITIES: The Park system is the primary public mechanism in Fairfax County for the preservation of environmentally sensitive land and resources, areas of historic significance and the provision of recreational facilities and services including: • Nine indoor RECenters with swimming pools, fitness rooms, gyms and class spaces. Cub Run features an indoor water park and on-site naturalist • Eight golf courses from par-3 to championship level, four driving ranges including the new state-of-the-art heated, covered range at Burke Lake Golf Center • Five nature and visitor centers. Also nine Off-Leash Dog Activity areas • Three lakefront parks including Lake Fairfax, Lake Accotink and Burke Lake, with campgrounds at Burke Lake and Lake Fairfax. The Water Mine Family Swimmin’ Hole at Lake Fairfax, Our Special Harbor Sprayground at Lee as well as an indoor water park at Cub Run RECenter • Clemyjontri Park, a fully accessible playground in Great Falls featuring two acres of family friendly fun and a carousel, as well as Chessie’s Big Backyard and a carousel at the Family Recreation Area at Lee District Park • An ice skating rink at Mount Vernon RECenter and the Skate Park in Wakefield Park adjacent to Audrey Moore RECenter • Kidwell Farm, a working farm of the 1930s-era at Frying Pan Farm Park in Herndon, now with historic carousel • Eight distinctive historic properties available for rent • A working grist mill at Colvin Run in Great Falls and a restored 18th century home at Sully Historic Site in Chantilly • A horticulture center at Green Spring Gardens in Annandale • Natural and cultural resources protected by the Natural Resource Management Plan and Cultural Resource Plans, plus an Invasive Management Area program that targets alien plants and utilizes volunteers in restoring native vegetation throughout our community • Picnic shelters, tennis courts, miniature golf courses, disc golf courses, off-leash dog parks, amphitheaters, a marina, kayaking/canoeing center • Provides 263 athletic fields, including 39 synthetic turf fields, and manages athletic field maintenance services at 417 school athletic fields. PARK AUTHORITY BOARD: A 12-member citizen board, appointed by the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors, sets policies and priorities for the Fairfax County Park Authority. Visit https://www.fairfaxcounty.gov/news2/social-hub/ for Fairfax County Government's Comment Policy.

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