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

General Mills joins effort to support bee and butterfly habitats

General Mills has made its largest contribution to help save pollinators, announcing a $2 million commitment that will add more than 100,000 acres of bee and butterfly habitat on or near existing crop lands. The five-year agreement with the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Natural Resources Conservation Service and the Xerces Society, the world’s oldest and Read more ...

General Mills, NRCS and the Xerces Society announce multi-year, $4 million investment in pollinator habitat

WASHINGTON — General Mills, the Xerces Society, and the U.S. Department of Agriculture announce a major milestone in their partnership to restore and protect pollinator habitat across hundreds of thousands of acres of farmland in North America. The five-year, $4 million financial commitment between General Mills and USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) will support Read more ...

General Mills, NRCS and the Xerces Society Announce Multi-Year, $4 Million Investment in Pollinator Habitat

  FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE Contacts: Mollie Wulff, General Mills; (763) 764-6340 ; mollie.wulff@genmills.com Kaveh Sadeghzadeh, NRCS; (202) 720-2182; Kaveh.sadeghzadeh@wdc.usda.gov Scott Black, Xerces Society, (503) 449-3792, scott.black@xerces.org   General Mills, NRCS and the Xerces Society Announce Multi-Year, $4 Million Investment in Pollinator Habitat Organizations share commitment to help pollinators prosper WASHINGTON, D.C., November 30, 2016—General Mills, the Read more ...

Managing Farms and Creating Habitat to Support Conservation Biological Control – Portland, OR

February 3rd, 2017
10:00 AM - 12:00 PM
Organicology Conference - Hilton Portland & Executive Tower
Portland, OR

Join Eric Mader and Thelma Heidel-Baker at the Organicology conference as they present a two-hour workshop on supporting conservation biocontrol on organic farms. In this workshop, they will provide a brief overview of beneficial insect ecology, general concepts for balancing the needs of beneficial insects with farm practices, and specific best management practices that minimize land-use and crop-management impacts on beneficial insects. They will also provide detailed information on organic-approved techniques for creating habitat features that support the beneficial insects providing pest control.

Click here for more information and to register.

Pollinators in Our Communities – Auburn, AL

December 12th, 2016
Alabama Bee Workshop - Auburn University
Auburn, AL

Join Dr. Nancy Adamson of the Xerces Society and Dr. Blair Sampson of ARS to open the Bee Biodiversity Initiative’s Alabama Bee Workshop (Dec. 12 - 14). The program highlights the importance of pollinators in agriculture and ecosystems, pollinator health and diversity, some of the most agriculturally important pollinators of the southeast, and Farm Bill programs that support pollinator habitat conservation and establishment.

Click here for more information. for more information.

Bringing Bees, Butterflies and Beauty into Gardens and Landscapes – Greensboro, NC

January 17, 2017
1:00 PM – 1:50 PM
Green & Growin' Conference and Expo, Sheraton Greensboro at Four Seasons
Greensboro, NC

Want to better support the bees and other wildlife that help ensure abundant harvests, keep our ecosystems healthy and enrich our communities? Join Nancy Adamson of the Xerces Society and the USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service to learn a little more about the benefits of diversity, best management practices to support pollinators and plants that add pollinator value and beauty to landscapes.

Nancy will also have a table during the expo, which runs the 19th and 20th.

Click here for more information and to register.

Enhancing Farm Diversity to Support Pollinators, Predators, and Parasitoids – Hot Springs, VA

January 10th - 11th, 2017
The Homestead Resort
Hot Springs, VA

Visit Nancy Lee Adamson, Pollinator Conservation Specialist from the Xerces Society, at the Xerces Society/NRCS booth during this conference. On January 10th, from 9-10:30 AM, Nancy will present on some of our smaller farm heroes – the most common types of bees, wasps, flies, beetles, and other wildlife that help ensure healthy harvests. Her presentation will highlight habitat needs (food and shelter) of pollinators, predators, and parasitoids, farming practices that support them, and Farm Bill programs to enhance diversity on farms.

Click here for more information and to register.

Farming With Beneficial Insects for Pest Control – Hot Springs, VA

January 9th, 2017
9:00 AM – 3:30 PM
The Homestead Resort
Hot Springs, VA

Learn about supporting beneficial insects that provide pest control in this full-day short course. Join Thelma Heidel-Baker, Conservation Biocontrol Specialist, and Nancy Adamson, Pollinator Conservation Specialist, from the Xerces Society as they overview conservation biological control and provide guidance on creating farm habitat to support those beneficial predators and parasitoids that attack insect pests. 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. Participants will learn how common farm practices can impact beneficial insects and how to assess and create farm habitat for beneficial insects.

This course is offered as a pre-conference workshop for the Virginia Association for Biological Farming (VABF) Conference.

Click here for more information and to register (conference registration is not required to attend this course).

Farming With Beneficial Insects for Pest Control – Indianapolis, IN

December 16th, 2016
9:00 AM - 3:30 PM
Natural Resources Conservation Service State Office
Indianapolis, IN

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 Thelma Heidel-Baker, Conservation Biocontrol Specialist at the Xerces Society, as she overviews conservation biological control and beneficial predators and parasitoids that attack insect pests.

Click here for more information and to register.

US Fish and Wildlife Service Proposes Rusty Patched Bumble Bee for Endangered Species Act Protection

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE Contacts: Rich Hatfield, Senior Conservation Biologist, Xerces; (503) 468-8405; rich@xerces.org Sarina Jepsen, Director of Endangered Species Program, Xerces; (971) 244-3727; sarina@xerces.org Margie Kelly, Communications Manager, Natural Resources Defense Council, 312-651-7935, mkelly@nrdc.org   US Fish and Wildlife Service Proposes Rusty Patched Bumble Bee for Endangered Species Act Protection PORTLAND, Ore.— Responding to a Read more ...

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.

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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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.