Welcome to the Spring Creek Coalition Website!
Mission: to unite as citizens and actively engage in the preservation of the Spring Creek Watershed.
Saturday, May 20, 10am-noon,
Peggs Community Center
Hwy 82, Peggs
Ozark streams elicit thoughts of fish for most outdoor enthusiasts, but this is just skimming the surface of an incredible world of living things all intricately connected to and dependent on flowing water. Streams are also host to a rich diversity of insect and crustacean life. These invertebrates form the base of the food chain for more recognizable stream inhabitants and serve as excellent indicators of stream health and water quality.
Alexander Hess, a first year PhD biology student at the University of Tulsa, is focusing his research on using one group of aquatic invertebrates, isopods (aquatic pill bugs or rollie pollies), as a tool for examining water quality and understanding how surface watersheds interact with groundwater.
“Aquatic isopods are secretive and rarely seen,” says Hess. “Yet the Ozarks are home to many different species. These little crustaceans are everywhere, from ponds and lakes to headwaters and aquifer systems. And they aren’t good swimmers, so they can’t get away from pollution. They either survive or perish, with dramatic effects on the entire ecosystem“.
Hess will tell us about invertebrate diversity in streams. He’ll discuss his research about the value of having invertebrates such as isopods in streams. He’ll explain how some species adapt to unique habitats with dramatic differences in form.
Bring Your Kids, Your Water Shoes, a Folding Chair, and Lunch: Hess plans to have some displays to interest children as well as adults. After his presentation, we’ll head to the creek for hands-on observations. “We should find crayfish, stoneflies, hellgrammites, mayflies – all the invertebrates you normally don’t see unless you pick up rocks,” notes Hess. We will visit an area with a spring so that we can find different isopod forms in different habitats.
Alexander Hess comes to us from Pennsylvania where he received his undergraduate and masters degrees. “I come from the heart of coal country,” notes Hess “where our streams were pretty much dead, devoid of life. This is what sparked my interest in water research and water quality.”