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River's Calendar on iNaturalist

on Tue, 09/17/2013 - 15:59

Click on image to open the River's Calendar aquatic insect project on iNaturalist.

We are now using the iNaturalist web site  www.inaturalist.org to enter and display River's Calendar data. iNaturalist  is currently in widespread use as a repository for biodiversity information.   

iNaturalist is a web site dedicated to collecting observations of plant and animal species across the planet, and supporting a commiunity of naturalists interested in learning about the natural world.

Phenology: “The study of periodic plant and animal life cycle events and how these are influenced by seasonal and interannual variations in climate” – Wikipedia.

Aquatic insect hatches are snapshots in time, telling the story of the river in its season. The Mother’s day caddis hatch that arrives - in a good year - just before spring runoff. With luck, salmon flies start emerging just as runoff subsides. The Hendrickson hatch, fished amidst the last snow squalls that spell the changing of the seasonal guard. A green drake spinner fall on a perfect spring evening, accompanied by lush verdant foliage and trilling of toads. The surprise of a large, solitary golden drake in the warmth of summer, taken quietly by a wary trout among the exposed rocks of a still pool. On those lucky days when we are witness to, and participant in the harmonious confluence of weather, water, fly and fish, we feel all is right with the world.

But the times, and the climate, are a’ changing, and all might not be right.

Trout Unlimited, the University of Massachusetts and partners are developing the “River’s Calendar” project, a community science program that examines the impacts of climate change on the phenology of our nation’s coldwater riparian areas. Phenology is a critical piece of the climate change puzzle in these riparian systems and the fisheries they support, as shifting natural calendars in response to warming temperatures may cause damaging ripple effects throughout these ecosystems. Trout anglers will record temperature, stream flow, and seasonal aquatic insect, fish and riparian plant observations while fishing. This information will be translated into detailed calendars of hatches and other riparian life for each river studied – suitable for use by anglers and other river recreationists. This information will also form the basis for an objective, science-based examination of the ecological, recreational and economic value of these areas, and of the magnitude of threats caused by climate and other human-caused land use changes. The angler monitoring network and the resulting data will support TU’s efforts to build broad-based conservation alliances to promote informed decision making on climate change.

Please note that this project primarily focuses on adult aquatic insects (including mayfly duns and spinners), rather than the larval stage, which is more commonly targeted in benthic invertebrate monitoring programs. And - this is a work in progress. We are tinkering with ideas approaches. Your help, ideas and patience are appreciated.

Golden Stonefly (Perlidae). Metolius River

For all anglers -  regardless of where you live or fish, your angling or your entomology skill level, you are welcome to participate.

Tell us what you are seeing on the river.   We are now using an online data