USRC/RiverWatch Mussel Surveys - A Call for Volunteers

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Bruce Colravy

Jul 27, 2022, 11:37:54 PMJul 27
to USRC Friends

Hi USRC Friend,  

The USRC has volunteer opportunities during our busy month of August. We were able to complete all 4 of the scheduled mussel survey sites last year thanks to the strong support of volunteers. We have 4 more sites to monitor this year and it would be greatly appreciated if you would be willing to join us. This will be the second year of our 10-year project, A Survey of Freshwater Mussels of the Upper Sangamon River: Community Science in Action.  

This year’s schedule is: 

Heron View Forest Preserve - Champaign County Forest Preserve 

401 County Road 2650 North, Mahomet 

This is the more challenging site to access. We will have to shuttle people from the Museum of the Grand Prairie, because there are only 2 parking spaces at the site. This should be a smaller survey group with a target of about 25 volunteers. So, if you like the smaller surveys, this one is for you. 

Museum of the Grand Prairie - 950 N Lombard St, Mahomet 

August 6 

9am - 3pm


Sangamon River Forest Preserve - Champaign County Forest Preserve 

2797 County Road 600 East, Fisher 

This is our large survey with a target of about 75 volunteers. Movie crew will be at this one. Easy access with parking at the monitoring site. No hauling equipment as we are able to park a few vehicles at the location.   

August 13 

9am - 3pm 


Shady Rest Park - Piatt County Forest Preserve 

There is no address assigned this site. It is on Greenarch Lane, Monticello just off of Shady Rest Road. Greenarch is south of the river and east of Shady Rest Road. Enough parking for about 10 cars. Option to shuttle people from Lodge Park (1852 North Old Route 47, Monticello) about a mile and a half away if necessary. This should be a smaller survey with a target of about 25 volunteers for this year. 

August 14 

9am - 3pm 


Lodge Park - Piatt County Forest Preserve 

1852 North Old Route 47, Monticello 

This can be a medium-large survey with a target of 40 - 50 volunteers. Plenty of parking with supply vehicle parking very close to the monitoring site. 

August 20 

9am - 3pm


What to expect 

While searching we will be combing our hands through the substrate (river bottom) while stooping, or on hands and knees, or sitting in the water. The water we will be searching will not be deeper than an arm’s reach. Time searching in the water will range from 30 minutes to 90 minutes depending on the transect (river section) you are assigned. After searching, we will begin our data collection. This portion of the survey will include tagging mussels, as well as sorting, identifying, measuring, weighing, and photographing them. After the mussels have been processed, they will be returned to the portion of the stream in which they were found. We will break for lunch at about noon, then return to finish processing the mussels if necessary. If you need to leave before the survey is finished, that is not a problem. Lunch will be provided for volunteers by the USRC. Should you have special dietary needs, please bring a lunch with you.   


A scout troop searches transect B at the Lake of the Woods survey in 2021. 


 University of Illinois Wildlife Society Students measuring and weighing mussels. 


What to wear and bring 

You should wear clothes and shoes suitable for getting soaked and muddy. I usually wear a pair of old sneakers or water shoes. Some people wear shorts, but I prefer and recommend long pants. Women and girls are often most comfortable wearing a bathing suit under their clothes. I also like to wear a hat for protection from the sun and insects. An old towel and a change of clothes are both good ideas for a more comfortable and cleaner ride home. You might also like to bring sunscreen and insect repellent. A personal water bottle is highly recommended. 


If you are able to volunteer for one of more of the surveys, just let me know by responding to this email and I will add you to the roster. If you are bringing additional volunteers with you, please let me know how many and their names so that I can add them as well. Feel free to share this email with anyone that you think might be interested. As has been the tradition, we will be providing a lunch at the survey for the volunteers. If you have special dietary needs, please bring a lunch with you.  



Bruce Colravy 

Upper Sangamon River Conservancy 

Citizen Science Coordinator 





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