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Big Wood Aquatic Insect Monitoring Program

River Gains

  • Advanced river data for the Big Wood River





We rely on private donations or grants to fund all initiatives at Project Big Wood

Join the cause. Be the effect.

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Why bugs?


With limited macro data on the Big Wood River we are invested in collecting data on bug health to inform river health. Macroinvertebrates are a baseline indicator for overall river health and biodiversity within the watershed.

What is the Big Wood Aquatic Insect Monitoring Program?


The primary goal of the Big Wood Aquatic Insect Monitoring Program (BWAIMP) is to track the status, trends, and drivers of aquatic insect distributions and declines across the Big Wood River. Monitoring take place at thirteen sites on the Big Wood River. The 10 species were chosen because they are either among the most sensitive, abundant, and ecologically and economically important insects on the River and are indicative of pollution.

  • Quantification of densities of 10 target insects

  • Summer water temperature

  • Sedimentation

  • Dewatering levels

Partnership with The Salmonfly Project:


We are excited to announce our partnership with The Salmonfly Project, an organization committed to conserving aquatic insects for future generations through research, monitoring, education, and sound management and restoration practices. Aquatic insects - including their flagship species, the giant salmonfly - are being threatened by pollution, dewatering, habitat loss, and warming. Even where trout, birds, and other wildlife are still abundant, insects often decline in abundance and biodiversity. What does this mean? Impaired watersheds, declining biodiveristy, and poor fishing.



We'll be sharing this data publicly on our website and with our partners to make more informed decisions for the Big Wood River. With accurate data, we can proactively address emerging threats and work closely with local organizations to implement targeted conservation strategies.

Publicly-available data on the densities of all target species, water temperatures, dewatering levels, and sedimentation on the Big Wood River, with a report written describing species densities and habitat characteristics at each site, statistical correlations between insect densities and environmental factors, and conservation recommendations. Reported analyses will help identify potentially at-risk species and whether the Big Wood River is likely to support healthy insect communities, based on habitat characteristics. Power analyses will also be performed and reported to help validate methodologies used during year-one and determine whether adjusting them will be necessary in subsequent years. 

Continued over many years (at least five), this monitoring program will identify any changes in the status and trends of target species and habitat factors of the Big Wood River. It will also help identify which target species are at risk and provide insight into the drivers of local declines. These outcomes will provide local managers (e.g., Idaho Fish & Game), conservationists, stakeholders (e.g., Project Big Wood; PBW) with new information necessary to proactively protect the Big Wood River’s aquatic resources. 

We need you:

  • Please submit your observations to our EcoWatch page including the insects you see when recreating on the Big Wood.  

  • Whether you are a passionate angler, a concerned community member, or someone who cares deeply about preserving the heart of our valley, let us know if you'd like to volunteer by sending us an email at 

  • Sign up for our newsletter to receive updates on current projects.

  • Make a donation.

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