Brad Withrow-Robinson, Forestry & Natural Resources Extension Agent, Benton, Linn and Polk Counties.
We have written about forest diversity, its importance in providing habitat for different species, or a species at different seasons or at different stages of its development. We have addressed the forest, trees and shrubs in particular, but the importance of habitat diversity applies to other parts of the forest environment too. Like streams.
We learned about the importance of having different stream habitats to support fish, insects and other aquatic life while on a recent Extension tour. A stream can have many types of habitat. The anatomy of a stream (the stream’s morphology) can be described in terms that are familiar to anglers: pools, riffles, glides, bars and tail outs. Each term describes a different combination of water depth and flow that together provide a type of habitat. You can see and often hear this: Some parts are quiet (pool and glide), some gurgle their presence to those nearby (a riffle), while falls and a plunge pools announce themselves at a distance. Aquatic biologists get excited about streams with a good mix of these habitats in a stream reach, just as wildlife biologists get excited by forest structure and snags. Hmm. Continue reading