"The Secret Life of Rivers" with Dr. Jerry Freilich From the Coalition For The Deschutes

Posted on in categories Event , Fishing , Travel & Adventure

If you are interested in rivers, ecology, fishing, or something for homeschooling the kids, this online learning opportunity is for you.

The Coalition for the Deschutes and Deschutes Redbands Chapter of Trout Unlimited would like to invite you to join us via Zoom for a presentation with the entertaining, edifying, and endearing aquatic ecologist, Dr. Jerry Freilich.

When: Wednesday, April 22nd, 5:00 – 6:30 pm, including time for Q & A
Via Zoom. Join the meeting here. (This link is all you need.)
https://zoom.us/j/93292932101?pwd=aXlaaVgzWWtwRFdFbThPenJwUlRwZz09

Rivers are like eyeglasses. Glasses appear transparent and utterly simple, yet the subtle curves of a lens are anything but simple. Likewise, a river seems like a pipe where water enters the top, runs down a channel, and empties into the sea. What could be simpler? Actually, the ecology of rivers is complex, concealed, eye-opening and will likely surprise you. This program by Dr. Jerry Freilich will explain how rivers work. 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 it is unrealistic to think of a river as pipe and why rivers are so important to the basins they drain.
Who the heck is this Jerry guy?
Dr. Jerry Freilich is a native of Philadelphia. He worked at the Academy of Natural Sciences there beginning at age 11. He is an aquatic ecologist who spent 25 years working for the National Park Service in six parks nationwide. For the last 13 years he was Research Coordinator at Olympic National Park and recently retired to Bend. Jerry’s PhD work was a study of 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 the microscopic-eye view of river ecology, he warns not to try this at home.

Invertebrates are the “meat and potatoes” of stream ecology. They are the food that fish need to survive. The tiniest ones are protozoans, crustaceans, rotifers, and worms termed “meiofauna” (“my- o – fauna”). The larger ones (¼ inch and larger) are the “macroinvertebrates.” Most macroinvertebrates are insects including the stoneflies, mayflies, and caddisflies that fly-fishing lures imitate. They are absolutely critical to fish survival and are useful indicators of water quality.

Macroinvertebrates live fast-moving lives. If you’ve ever tried to catch a trout with bare hands or witnessed one darting after a fly, you might have an idea how fast things move in an environment that is already moving due to the river’s flow. They also live concealed lives under water, hiding beneath stones and in leaf packs, because enemies are everywhere. They’re extremely well adapted to this lifestyle, having lived this way for 300 million years or more.
By Dr. Jerry Freilich