Is the Big Wood River healthy? As with any ecological system, that is a complicated question that will take a lot of science, data, and study to determine. Anecdotally, community members of the Wood River Valley have very different answers. Some people look at the stunning beauty of the river on a fall day and can’t imagine a better picture of the word “vibrant,” while others may notice that they’re catching less fish than they used to and therefore think of the river as somehow less healthy than it once was, or could be.
One way to determine the health of an ecosystem is to look at the living creatures that live within it!
Aquatic macroinvertebrates are small animals that live in water, are big enough to see with the naked eye, and have no backbone. These animals include many types of insects as well as other animals such as worms, mollusks, and crustaceans. Most aquatic macroinvertebrates make their homes in rocks, leaves, and the sediment of streambeds. These aquatic creatures are excellent for studying when trying to find out how healthy an ecosystem is.
Macroinvertebrate sampling is a critical tool in the arsenal of river evaluation techniques, and the Wood River Land Trust and Community Library are excited to host Patrick Edwards, who will talk about how macroinvertebrates can be studied as indicators of ecosystem health.
Patrick Edwards is a senior instructor in the Environmental Science and Management Department at Portland State University and Director of the Environmental Professional Program. Patrick’s current research is focused on macroinvertebrate indicators of stream sediment and the effect of ecological restoration on aquatic communities. Patrick is very active in K-12 science education and environmental citizen science, and is used to making complicated programs (like macroinvertebrate sampling) seem easy to grasp for the public.
This 1-hour talk will feature a presentation by Patrick, followed by a short presentation on the Wood River Land Trust’s brand new macroinvertebrate sampling program, before we’ll open up to questions from the audience. This will be the perfect opportunity for science loving kids and adults to dive into some of discipline behind better understanding our home river.
The program will be livestreamed and available to view later.
This event is part of the Thinking Globally, Acting Locally speaker series – a partnership between the Wood River Land Trust and The Community Library. In this series we discuss how we can take local action in the face of global and regional challenges.