Sampling Sites

Field Study Sites

In a normal year the Biomonitoring Program will undertake full-scale of monitoring of approximately 430 sites, spanning a range of conditions from large rivers to tiny brooks, pristine wilderness sites to heavily impacted streams, sea level to 200 m. altitude with site selection based on the following criteria:

Reference Sites: These comprise an assortment of sites representing the “best” (least altered by human activity) sites in a variety of stream categories.  Data from these sites is used to establish standards applied in monitoring and interpreting results from other sites.

Fixed Stations : We have now accumulated enough information to be able (in Costa Rica) to designate several fixed stations, to be monitored annually as a barometer of general conditions in Talamanca.

Local requests : Local interest is always a priority for us in selecting monitoring sites.  To the greatest degree possible we try to honor requests for monitoring services from local individuals, communities or conservation groups.

Educational sites : A few individual sites have been and will continue to be monitored in conjunction with specific schools; others simply correspond well to pedagogical needs.

Perceived changes or threats : Some sites will be selected because of perceived changes (for better or worse) or threats.  Factors under this category range from restoration projects to fish kills.

Relation to protected areas : Our work area includes several Protected Areas such as the Hitoy/Cerere Biological Reserve and Gandoca/Manzanillo Wildlife Refuge in Costa Rica and the Palo Seco Forest Reserve and San San/Pondsak Wetland of International Importance in Panama, but of particular significance is the huge La Amistad International Peace Park, a World Heritage Site which constitutes a major biodiversity “Hot Spot”.  One of the most important developments during the life of the ANAI Stream Biomonitoring Program has been the emergence of the threat to biodiversity through elimination of diadromous species above dams, including in La Amistad and other protected areas.  For this and other reasons we have increasingly factored relation to proposed dam sites and the boundary of La Amistad into our site selection process.