The Alliance received a grant from Chesapeake Bay Trust to leverage existing volunteer monitoring groups in the CMC network to collect benthic macroinvertebrate samples to fill existing data gaps for the Chesapeake Bay Program. This sample collection protocol was new to the CMC team, which meant we needed to acquire quite a bit of new equipment to be able to collect our macroinvertebrates and preserve them in ethanol for identification down to the family level. One of the most costly pieces of equipment we needed was a sieve bucket with 500 micron mesh at the bottom, costing about $125 each. We found that these buckets were especially tricky to empty a sample out of, so we tried our hand at making our own.
The Alliance team put our heads (and basic sewing skills!) together to create a DIY version of this sieve bucket, totaling around $30. We used a basic five gallon bucket with drainage holes drilled into the bottom and 500 micron mesh fabric. We sewed up a simple bag with minimal seams to avoid macros getting stuck, then added a drawstring around the top to hold it in place while inside the bucket. Now, we have a cost-effective and simplified method to transfer samples from this removable bag into our sample container without squishing any macros simply by turning it inside out!
Photo 1 (left): Professional 500 micron mesh sieve bucket. $125
Photo 2 (right): DIY sieve bucket with drilled drainage holes and sewn 500 micron mesh bag. $30