Thank you Kathy Bridge for 20 Years of Stream Monitoring!

A narrow, calm stream flowing straight through a grassland, with a forest in the background.
Scuppernong Creek

For the last twenty years, Kathy Bridge has been monitoring Scuppernong Creek near her home in southeastern Wisconsin. She visits the creek multiple times each year, monitoring for water temperature, water transparency, dissolved oxygen and macroinvertebrates.

Water Action Volunteers (WAV) is proud to recognize Kathy’s commitment to 20 years of stream monitoring. Kathy started monitoring Scuppernong Creek in 2003, originally attending a training at a local UW Field Station where she first met her local WAV Coordinator Jayne Jenks. “I have truly enjoyed all of these years with her mentorship!” Kathy says.

Kathy is often joined by her children and other local youth while monitoring her stream site. “I thought it was a wonderful opportunity to learn about the stream in our backyard and provide some hands-on science for my homeschooled daughter,” says Kathy. “My youngest went to the Rock River Coalition’s Confluence conference as a newborn, and she is now a freshman in college.” She has even volunteered with local homeschool groups to teach about stream ecology, bringing tubs of macroinvertebrates to show them all the fascinating critters that live in the water.

Kathy enjoys the public nature of her monitoring site, which is located on an Ice Age Trail bridge. Often times, interested hikers will stop by to chat with Kathy while she is out sampling. “One walker stopped to see our critters and said that the minnow we were inspecting was a brown trout minnow. We had been told that this stream was once a trout stream, and we would love to see that habitat be restored” she said.

A close up photo of a caddisfly larva, with part of its body hidden in its home made of twigs and plant matter.
Caddisfly larva in its protective case

Over the years, the most rewarding part of volunteering for Kathy has been “seeing the love and appreciation of the wonders in the stream by children and their friends.” Kathy has even volunteered with the Retzer Nature Center to explore stream ecology with students in the Bark River in Hartland. Each year she promotes upcoming water monitoring training sessions and opportunities for monitoring with her home community in Waukesha County.

Partial to the caddisfly, Kathy enjoys macroinvertebrate sampling in Scuppernong Creek. “It has been satisfying to continue to see some of the more sensitive critters over the years, leaving me hope that the stream is remaining healthy.”