Aquatic insects indicating nitrate levels in water

Aquatic insects indicating nitrate levels in water

NORTHFIELD, Minn. (KEYC) — A field day held in Northfield discussed how cover crops, tillage, and trout are all connected, with a portion of the day going over aquatic insect population.

Aquatic insect populations and species can indicate the amount of pollution in a body of water.

Monday’s field day example was the aquatic insect population in Rice Creek, Rice County’s only self-sustaining trout stream where they found various aquatic insects, but those that are not tolerant to pollution were harder to find.

“There are relatively high nitrate values and it makes it no surprise that what we’re finding in our insect community is more pollution tolerant species and different critters here, so we’re not really seeing any of the insects that we would hope to see in a very clean system,” said Claire LaCanne, a University of Minnesota Extension educator for Steele and Rice Counties.

Kathy Shea, a professor of Biology at St. Olaf College, is monitoring the insect and arthropod population in Rice Creek and is finding increased nitrate levels.

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