WHEP is a County Wide program to monitor wetlands in Dakota County. Volunteers receive training on collecting and identifying vegetation and macroinvertebrates (e.g. dragonfly larva, crayfish, etc.) to evaluate wetland health.
The Wetland Health Evaluation Program, or WHEP, is a citizen science project sponsored by the County, area cities, and local watershed management organizations where volunteers collect vegetation and macroinvertebrate data to evaluate the health of selected wetlands. Volunteers work in teams (e.g. there is an Apple Valley team) to collect the data using methods developed by the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency. Training and equipment is provided, including waders. Five wetlands are monitored each year, four in Apple Valley and one in a neighboring community. There is about a 30 hour commitment over the summer, most of which is spent in wetlands collecting information with some lab work identifying macroinvertebrates. The information is used by area resource managers to assess the success of projects, look for impacts from disturbance, and look for areas for new projects. This is a fun way to get outdoors, meet some new people, and contribute to the community. We hope to see you this summer.