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Tag Archive | "conservation"

CTA students found what’s bugging us in Cedar Creek


Nichol DeMull, of Trout Unlimited, instructs a CTA student on how to search for insects in Cedar Creek. Photo by J. Reed.

Nichol DeMull, of Trout Unlimited, instructs a CTA student on how to search for insects in Cedar Creek. Photo by J. Reed.

By Judy Reed

Stream monitoring done by Creative Technologies students this week show that Cedar Creek has excellent water quality, according to Nichol DeMull, of Trout Unlimited.

CTA biology and conservation students and teachers Jim Fredenberg and Trisha Rose teamed up with Trout Unlimited this week to do stream monitoring in Cedar Creek, at Riggle Park. According to DeMull, Fredenberg contacted her about possibly participating in the activity, since the school is nearby. DeMull and Jamie Vaughn did a presentation to the students on Monday, April 18, and the students donned waders and gloves Tuesday, April 19, to collect bugs from Cedar Creek and identify them. Some students waded through the Creek to scoop up the bugs, other students helped empty the nets, and others sorted through them. They identified and counted them, and recorded what they saw on a data sheet put together by the Michigan Clean Water Corps.

Students identify and count bugs found in Cedar Creek. Photo by J. Reed.

Students identify and count bugs found in Cedar Creek. Photo by J. Reed.

According to DeMull, bugs are the evidence of stream quality. “The students found a large diversity of insects in Cedar Creek. In the cleanest rivers, lakes, and ponds you’ll find the greatest diversity of aquatic invertebrates,” she explained. “In polluted waters, only a few species of stream insects can survive. Some of the insects they found included caddisflies, mayflies, and stoneflies. These insects are sensitive to pollution and can only survive in clean water.”

She said the students identified the kinds of insects, whether they were rare or common in the stream, and used a formula to come up with the Stream Quality Score.

CTA students teamed up in several groups to monitor bugs in Cedar Creek. Photo by J. Reed.

CTA students teamed up in several groups to monitor bugs in Cedar Creek. Photo by J. Reed.

DeMull said that we can assume that the excellent stream quality extends to a certain degree in both directions from Riggle Park. “We have another monitoring location at the mouth of Cedar Creek that we have been monitoring for about 5 years now. It also has an excellent stream quality score based on the stream insects found there,” she said.

DeMull explained that there are other things outside of the water that can also affect stream quality. “Cedar Creek has the cold groundwater and stream habitats to support a diversity of insects, but the land use around the stream has a lot to do with the kinds of insects you will find at a site. As an example, if we sample in a location where all of the trees are cut down and there is no shade (warming up the water) or if there is a lot of erosion on the banks (covering up the gravel with sand) the stream quality score might be lower.”

She said that they will continue to work with Creative Technologies Academy to work on Cedar Creek. “Something that Trout Unlimited is certainly interested in is having community members become stewards of their home waters,” said DeMull.

Trout Unlimited is still looking for volunteers to help with another stream monitoring event coming up on Saturday, May 7 from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. at the Rockford Community Cabin, 220 N. Monroe St. in Rockford. Volunteers will be assigned to a monitoring group with a team leader.  Each group will collect and identify insects from different stream sites in the Rogue River and Bear Creek watersheds. You don’t need any experience with stream insects to participate and all ages are welcome.

What will you need?  Please RSVP to Nichol De Mol at 231-557-6362 or ndemol@tu.org if you would like to attend.  Lunch will be provided for all volunteers. Please bring waders if you have them and dress for the weather conditions.

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Biodiversity Conservation


By Ranger Steve Mueller

 

Aldo Leopold revolutionized wildlife management with his 1933 Game Management textbook. He is most famous for his 1949 Sand County Almanac that formulated “Land Ethic” concepts. He and Rachel Carson share the distinction of being “Conservationists of the 20th Century.”

Leopold changed how wildlife is managed by changing the practice from single species focus to ecosystem focus. He maintained that we must look at the whole natural community. For centuries people only focused on one species at time and did not consider the impact of narrow focus in regards to environmental health.

Following his publication, scientists and the general public began looking at how the ecosystems function and how our lives and economy are impacted by our practices. Rachel Carson brought it to public attention that DDT and other chemicals were not only harming wildlife and destroying biodiversity but were harming humans.

There will always be those that do not care if negative impacts affect families if they can make more money for themselves. When it became apparent that the sleeping aid Thalidomide caused children to be born with stubs for legs and arms, the medicine was outlawed. More testing was required on drugs while some people do not think public protection merits laws to protect people or wildlife.

There is always a struggle between self-interest and public interest. There are efforts to persuade public opinion away from public interest so that individuals can do more activities without considering their impacts on the general public and health of the environment that supports us.

As Earth Day approaches (April 22) there is controversial legislation in Michigan (Senate Bill 78) that will prevent wildlife biologists from considering biodiversity in management practices if passed. SB 78 redefines “biological conservation” and restricts the ability of the Department of Natural Resources to consider “biodiversity” when managing state lands.

The bill would amend several parts of the Natural Resources and Environmental Protection Act to do the following:

— Prohibit the DNR and the Natural Resources Commission from enforcing a rule that designates an area of land specifically for the purpose of achieving or maintaining biological diversity.

— Delete the conservation of biological diversity from the DNR’s duties to balance its management activities with economic values.

— Eliminate a requirement that the DNR manage forests in a manner that promotes restoration.

— Provide that a State department or agency would not have to designate or classify an area of land specifically for the purpose of achieving or maintaining biological diversity.

— Revise the definition of “conservation” with regard to biological diversity.

— Delete a legislative finding that most losses of biological diversity are the result of human activity.

Perhaps the best thing you can do for our community this Earth Day is read the bill and contact your legislators with your thoughts.

Natural history questions or topic suggestions can be directed to Ranger Steve (Mueller) at the odybrook@chartermi.net Ody Brook, 13010 Northland Dr, Cedar Springs, MI 49319-8433.

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