Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)

Semester of Degree Completion


Thesis Director

Jeffrey R. Laursen


Professional stream assessments can be both time and cost intensive. Many states have developed citizen science programs in an effort to provide reliable data to supplement agency assessments. To test how two of these protocols and their conclusions compare, I sampled 16 sites in seven streams within east central Illinois using techniques from two different organizations: Illinois RiverWatch and Illinois Environmental Protection Agency. Overall, spring RiverWatch, fall RiverWatch, and fall IEPA sampling all produced unique results and conclusions. Compared to fall IEPA assessments, spring RiverWatch was affected by differences in both sampling protocol and season. RiverWatch sampling in fall reduced differences in overall assemblages but tended to overestimate quality. Habitat was not correlated with macroinvertebrate metrics. My study supports the current level of identification used by RiverWatch assessments and could be maintained. Additional research is needed to address the ideal target for number of individuals needed in a RiverWatch sample and to determine 95th percentile values for metrics using RiverWatch-level identifications.