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.

Our Work

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

Upcoming Events

Macroinvertebrate Training and Monitoring – Milwaukie/Portland, OR

Thursday, August 20, 2015, 6:00 PM – 9:00 PM
Johnson Creek Watershed Council
Milwaukie, OR

Sunday, August 23, 9:00 AM – 3:00 PM
Westmoreland Park
Portland, OR

Aquatic macroinvertebrates play a central role in aquatic food webs and are a critically important nutrient resource for juvenile fish; thus, knowledge of the aquatic macroinvertebrate community is of great importance when evaluating the success of stream restoration projects. Come learn about the amazing diversity of freshwater macroinvertebrates and what they can tell us about the health of a stream. Participants will gain hands-on experience identifying stream macroinvertebrates and learn stream survey methods during an evening classroom training session. Volunteers will then spend a day in and near the stream to collect macroinvertebrate samples, record habitat data, and use their identification skills to help identify collected samples on-site.

This event is currently full. Click here for more information and to add your name to the wait list. Please note registration is for both the evening training session and the day-long stream survey.

Migratory Dragonfly Short Course – Alexandria, VA

Saturday, August 22, 2015, 9:00 AM – 3:30 PM
Huntley Meadows Park
Alexandria, VA

Dragonfly migration is one of the most fascinating events in the insect world, but also one of the least-known. This course is designed to shed light on this understudied phenomenon and intended for anyone interested in dragonflies and in contributing to our growing knowledge about dragonfly migration in North America. Whether you are a novice or a pro when it comes to dragonflies, please join the Xerces Society’s staff scientist and Aquatic Program Director Celeste Searles Mazzacano for this fun and informative event to become a volunteer citizen science monitor and help us explore the amazing phenomenon of dragonfly migration!

This course is currently full. Click here for for more information and to add your name to the wait list.


to protect invertebrates!


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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.

The Xerces Society • 628 NE Broadway Ste 200, Portland OR 97232 USA • tel 855.232.6639 • fax 503.233.6794 •
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