Aquatic Conservation

Invertebrates live in every type of aquatic habitat, from streams and seeps to marshes and lakes. Aquatic invertebrates such as stoneflies, mayflies, mussels, and midges play critical roles in sustaining healthy aquatic ecosystems, and are at the center of the aquatic food web. The winged adult forms of many aquatic insects also provide a huge amount of the food for terrestrial birds, bats, and reptiles. Aquatic invertebrates and the habitats that sustain them are seriously imperiled. In the United States, over half of the wetlands that existed in the 1600s have been lost, and a recent nationwide stream survey found pesticides or their degradates in all the streams sampled. The Aquatic Conservation program works to protect aquatic invertebrates and the ecosystems that sustain them.

Current Projects

Learn more and get involved with the Aquatic Conservation projects.
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Migratory Dragonfly Partnership

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Ecologically Sound Mosquito Management

Western Fresh Water Mussels

Western Freshwater Mussels

Biomonitoring

Biomonitoring

Our Work

Check out some of the work the aquatic team has been doing!

Upcoming Events

Bee-come a Bee Monitor – Maplewood, MN

September 12th, 2016
10:00 AM - 4:00 PM
Maplewood, MN

Learn how to distinguish bees from other flower-visiting insects, how to identify honey bees and native bees, and methods for monitoring bees. Workshop will be a mix of classroom learning and hands-on activities, including working with pinned specimens, examining bees in a restored prairie, and practicing the methods for standardized data collection. The training is free for MN Naturalists' Association members ($10 for non-members). Participants will receive our new Citizen Scientist Pollinator Monitoring Guide and other reference materials. Activities will include classroom and outdoor time, so dress appropriately. Bring a bag lunch. This course will be taught by Sarah Foltz Jordan (Xerces Society), Elaine Evans (U of MN Bee Lab), and Maplewood Nature Center Staff. Funded by the MN Environment and Natural Resources Trust Fund (ENRTF).

Click here for more information and to register.

Conservation Biological Control Short Course – Carson City, NV

September 30th, 2016
9:00 AM – 3:30 PM
Western Nevada College, Carson City Campus
Carson City, NV

Learn about supporting beneficial insects that provide pest control in this full-day short course. Conservation biological control is a science-based pest management strategy that seeks to integrate beneficial insects back into cropping systems for natural pest control, ultimately reducing and in some cases eliminating the need for pesticides. Join Jessa Kay Cruz, Senior Pollinator Conservation Specialist of the Xerces Society, as she overviews conservation biological control and beneficial predators and parasitoids that attack insect pests. Participants will learn how common farm practices can impact beneficial insects and how to assess and create farm habitat for beneficial insects.

Click here for more information and to register.

MJV Monarch Conservation Webinar: Monarchs and Roadsides

August 31st, 2016
2:00 PM Eastern

This webinar, hosted by Monarch Join Venture, includes presenters Dr. Karen Oberhauser and Kyle Kasten from the University of Minnesota Monarch Lab, Jennifer Hopwood from the Xerces Society, and Ken Graeve from the Minnesota Department of Transportation.

Tremendous amounts of habitat have been lost throughout the monarchs' range, primarily due to development and changing agricultural practices. There are many opportunities to enhance and restore habitat for monarchs and pollinators in marginal areas, such as roadsides. This webinar will include background information on monarchs and pollinators in roadside habitats, key findings from a study of milkweed and monarch surveys along roadsides, and case studies and opportunities for Departments of Transportation.

Click here for more information and to register.

Lunchtime Lecture: Monarch Butterflies – A Species of Wonder, a Species in Crisis – San Jose, CA

December 7th, 2016
12:00 PM
San Jose Museum of Art
San Jose, CA

Please join Mia Monroe, volunteer with the Xerces Society and local coordinator of the Western Monarch Thanksgiving Count, for December's Lunchtime Lecture entitled “Monarch Butterflies...A Species of Wonder, a Species in Crisis”. Lunchtime Lectures are included in Museum admission.

Click here for more details.

Conservation Biological Control Short Course – Salinas, CA

August 31st, 2016
9:00 AM – 4:00 PM
County of Monterey Agricultural Center
Salinas, CA

Learn about supporting beneficial insects that provide pest control in this full-day short course. Conservation biological control is a science-based pest management strategy that seeks to integrate beneficial insects back into cropping systems for natural pest control, ultimately reducing and in some cases eliminating the need for pesticides. Join Jessa Kay Cruz (Senior Pollinator Conservation Specialist), Thelma Heidel-Baker (Integrated Pest Management Specialist), and Hillary Sardiñas, (Pacific Coast Pollinator Conservation Specialist), of the Xerces Society, as they overview conservation biological control and beneficial predators and parasitoids that attack insect pests. Participants will learn how common farm practices can impact beneficial insects and how to assess and create farm habitat for beneficial insects.

Click here for more information and to register.

Conservation Biological Control Short Course – Oakville, CA

August 30th, 2016
9:00 AM – 3:30 PM
Oakville Experimental Vineyard
Oakville, CA

Learn about supporting beneficial insects that provide pest control in this full-day short course. Conservation biological control is a science-based pest management strategy that seeks to integrate beneficial insects back into cropping systems for natural pest control, ultimately reducing and in some cases eliminating the need for pesticides. Join Jessa Kay Cruz (Senior Pollinator Conservation Specialist), Thelma Heidel-Baker (Integrated Pest Management Specialist), and Hillary Sardiñas, (Pacific Coast Pollinator Conservation Specialist), of the Xerces Society, as they overview conservation biological control and beneficial predators and parasitoids that attack insect pests. Participants will learn how common farm practices can impact beneficial insects and how to assess and create farm habitat for beneficial insects.

Click here for more information and to register.

Bumble Bee Short Course – Boston, MA

August 27th, 2016
9:00 AM – 4:00 PM
Arnold Arboretum of Harvard University
Boston, MA

Join Rich Hatfield of the Xerces Society for a day-long workshop and field visit to learn about the status of native bees and the steps you can take to protect and enhance their populations. This workshop will provide an overview of bumble bee life-history and ecology, as well as which species are most imperiled throughout the eastern U.S. Participants will also learn about the threats they face, and what can be done in their yards to help protect them. A focus of the workshop will be training participants how to identify the bumble bees in their backyard, and throughout New England.

This event is full. Seats are available for the classroom session only. Click here to reserve your seat.

Conservation Biological Control Short Course – Landisville, PA

September 7th, 2016
9:00 AM – 4:30 PM
Penn State Southeast Agricultural Research & Extension Center (SEAREC)
Landisville, PA

Learn about supporting beneficial insects that provide pest control in this full-day short course. Conservation biological control is a science-based pest management strategy that seeks to integrate beneficial insects back into cropping systems for natural pest control, ultimately reducing and in some cases eliminating the need for pesticides. Join Kelly Gill, Pollinator Conservation Specialist at the Xerces Society, as she overviews conservation biological control and beneficial predators and parasitoids that attack insect pests. Participants will learn how common farm practices can impact beneficial insects and how to assess and create farm habitat for beneficial insects.

Click here for more information and to register.

Conservation Biological Control Short Course – Keene, NH

September 20th, 2016
9:00 AM – 4:30 PM
Stonewall Farm
Keene, NH

Learn about supporting beneficial insects that provide pest control in this full-day short course. Conservation biological control is a science-based pest management strategy that seeks to integrate beneficial insects back into cropping systems for natural pest control, ultimately reducing and in some cases eliminating the need for pesticides. Join Jarrod Fowler, Xerces Society Pollinator Conservation & Biocontrol Specialist from the Xerces Society, as he overviews conservation biological control and beneficial predators and parasitoids that attack insect pests. Participants will learn how common farm practices can impact beneficial insects and how to assess and create farm habitat for beneficial insects.

Click here for more information and to register.

Pollinator Conservation Short Course – Westampton, NJ

September 29th, 2016
Rutgers New Jersey Agricultural Experiment Station
Westampton, NJ

This full day workshop, instructed by Kelly Gill, Xerces Society Pollinator Conservation Specialist, will focus on concepts around protecting and enhancing populations of pollinators, especially bees, in agricultural landscapes. The course will provide an overview of bee natural history and identify practices such as protecting and creating habitat, modified horticultural practices, and advice on how to manage pests while protecting pollinators.

Click here for more information and to register.

Knee Deep in Prairies – Native Pollinators – Saukville, WI

August 26th, 2016
1:10 PM - 3:20 PM
Saukville, WI

Learn how prairies and our native wildflowers play a critical role in protecting beneficial insects such as pollinators. Join Thelma Heidel-Baker in this Breakout Session as she talks about protecting beneficial insects at the Knee Deep in Prairies event at the Riveredge Nature Center. This workshop will cover the challenges being faced by pollinators and other beneficial insects and outline steps you can take to conserve these vital insects and the important ecological services they provide.

Click here for more information and to register.

Firefly Populations Are Blinking Out

Blink and you’ll miss them this summer. Around the world, people are reporting that local firefly populations are shrinking or even disappearing. The insect’s dilemma first came to the world’s attention at the 2010 International Firefly Symposium, where researchers from 13 nations presented evidence of firefly population declines and declared “an urgent need for conservation Read more ...

State of the Monarch Butterfly Overwintering Sites in California

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE Contacts: Sarina Jepsen, Endangered Species Program Director, Xerces Society for Invertebrate Conservation; (971) 244-3727, sarina@xerces.org Emma Pelton, Endangered Species Conservation Biologist, Xerces Society for Invertebrate Conservation; (503) 232-6639 ext. 102, emma.pelton@xerces.org New Report Documents a 74% Decline in the Number of Monarch Butterflies Overwintering in Coastal California The Xerces Society prioritizes the top Read more ...

[VIDEO] Western Bumblebee no longer in Willamette Valley

Though Oregon may be experiencing a population boom, there is at least one group that is no longer found anywhere in the Willamette Valley. The Western Bumblebee. “Western Bumblebee used to be one of the 3 most common species in Oregon,” said Sarina Jepsen of the Xerces Society in Portland. “It’s really declined dramatically and Read more ...

A Ghost in the Making: Nationwide Release of a Revealing Film About the Decline of a Once Common Pollinator

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE Contacts: Sarina Jepsen, Endangered Species Program Director, The Xerces Society for Invertebrate Conservation, 971-244-3727, sarina@xerces.org Clay Bolt, Natural History Photographer, 864-385-4616, cbnatphoto@gmail.com A Ghost In the Making: Searching for the Rusty Patched Bumble Bee Nationwide release of a revealing film about the decline of a once common pollinator Portland, OR – Today, Read more ...

Groups seek to protect rare butterfly whose only home is San Juan Island

San Juan Island is the only home to the island marble butterfly. Populations of the species disappeared from Canadian islands in the 1900’s and were rediscovered on San Juan Island in 1998. The species has suffered further decline since rediscovery and faces limited protections. In the grasslands on south San Juan Island, several patches of Read more ...

LA Times: 6 easy ways you can help save the bees

Busy as a bee is an accurate statement. According to the Xerces Society, a nonprofit organization working to protect bees, 75% of the world’s food crop depends on at least one pollinator, such as the honeybee. (California’s pollinator-dependent crop value is about $12 billion a year.) That’s a lot riding on the journey of the Read more ...

What Santa Monica can do about monarch butterfly decline

In 1997 there were more than 1.2 million monarchs overwintering in California and in 2014 only 234,000 – an 81 percent decline from the 1997 high, 48 percent decline from the 18- year average, and just over 10 percent per year. What has caused such a decline? The Xerces Society for Invertebrate Conservation, which studies Read more ...

A common pesticide may be a menace to pollinators. Know how to protect them.

Many homeowners want to throw a lifeline to beleaguered bees and butterflies by planting pollinator gardens that will provide sustenance and habitat, but the unwitting use of insecticides may lure these beloved insects to their doom. The worry is that a common type of pesticide known as neonicotinoids, or neonics, will poison honeybees, bumblebees, monarch Read more ...

Cheerios Giving Bees A Buzz-Worthy 3,300 Acres Of Flowers To Pollinate

On April 26, General Mills announced that the farms that supply oats for Honey Nut Cheerios will plant approximately 3,300 acres of habitat for bees and other pollinators by 2020. It’s a size of land that is equivalent to “3,000 football fields,” Tom Rabaey, principal agronomist for General Mills, said in a video for Cheerios. “I Read more ...

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Contact Us

Email us with your questions and comments about the Aquatic Program.

Questions about the Migratory Dragonfly Partnership or dragonflies? Email us here.

Aquatic Conservation
Take Action!
Dragonfly Pond Watch

Contribute your local dragonfly sightings to this Migratory Dragonfly Partnership (MDP) citizen science project. Learn more.

Identification Guides
Field Guide for Migratory Dragonflies

Download the MDP field guide and view additional Xerces guides to identify stream and wetland invertebrates. Click here.

Stonefly (Isoperla sp.) by David Funk.
Common Green Darner by Walter Chadwick.
Western Freshwater Mussels and Biomonitor Volunteer by Celeste Mazzacano.