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Thursday, March 4, 2010

Wade into wetlands

Dakota County wetland program is seeking volunteers.

Volunteer to step into the world of wetlands—wearing a pair of waders of course. Dakota County is seeking people to help monitor the health of community wetlands through the Wetland Health Evaluation Program (WHEP). Volunteers work with folks in their community to collect information that will be used to help protect area wetlands. A science background or previous monitoring experience is not required. All training and equipment is provided.

WHEP volunteers gather data on macroinvertebrates—like beetles and dragonflies—and plants in wetlands. Cities use the data to better manage wetlands and surrounding areas.

Volunteers receive training in field methods, insect collection and identification, and plant survey techniques. Teams work under the direction of a team leader and are grouped by city. Each city WHEP team takes samples from three to five wetlands between June and August. Volunteers commit between ten and 30 hours, including training, field work, and lab analysis.

For more information about volunteering visit www.mnwhep.org or call the Dakota County Water Resources Department at 952-891-7000. Participating in the Wetland Health Evaluation Program is an excellent way to learn more about wetlands.

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