Exploring how rivers work


Last updated 3/19/2024 at 11:17am

Photo provided

Dr. Jerry Freilich

At this time of year, we hear a lot about snowpack, its moisture content, and how much water we will have to get through the summer. We drive by Detroit Dam and can't help but check the water level. All year long, we notice the water flow in our local rivers.

We know we need water for human consumption, agriculture, sports activities, etc. Our lives are tied directly to water. It seems obvious that we should care about the life of rivers. But what goes on in rivers? They have fish that eat "flies" and other treats that we dangle in front of them. Surely, there's more to it than that!

In fact, the ecology of rivers is complex, concealed, eye-opening, and will likely surprise you. Aquatic ecologist Dr. Jerry Freilich will explain how rivers work in his presentation titled "The Secret Life of Rivers" at The Belfry on Tuesday, March 26, at 7 p.m.

How many organisms actually make up the riverine ecosystem? Where do they get their energy? And how many of them have you actually heard of? With awareness of riverine ecology, you will understand why we have to protect running waters and it will make you think about human effects on the critters we love.

Dr. Jerry Freilich is a native of Philadelphia. He worked at the Academy of Natural Sciences there beginning at age 11. He spent 25 years working for the National Park Service in six parks nationwide. For 13 years, he was Research Coordinator at Olympic National Park and retired to Bend in 2016. His PhD work was a study of aquatic insects (salmonflies) at Grand Teton National Park. The work required individually tagging 3,000 salmonfly nymphs with tiny numbered tags and following their movements about in the river. Although this gave him a microscopic-eye view of river ecology, he warned not to try this at home.

This event is part of the Frontiers in Science lecture series sponsored by the Sisters Science Club.

Social hour begins at 6 p.m. with light fare, beer, and wine available for purchase. Admission is $5 at the door; teachers and students are admitted free. The Belfry is located at 302 E. Main Ave., Sisters. For information email [email protected].


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