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Collection/study question

I have found a small creek (well more like a ditch) near by that I would 
like to gain a fairly reliable species inventory from. I have done this 
sort of thing with salamanders in a seminar on herpetology, but how 
would one gain a reliable result? Would I need to sample the entire 
length or is there a standard for what fraction I should cover?
Also I would like a good key, the Peterson's was fair for salamanders, 
how is it for fish? What sampling methods are recommended, should I trap 
and net? What sort of netting techniques work best? I realize these are 
not short-answer type questions, but I feel a discussion of this sort 
would greatly aid those of us new to this sort of thing (collection).

Thanks in advance,
Scott McLaughlin

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