Thursday, September 20, 2007

Looking For Bugs in the Saugatuck

Ecologists say that one way to assess the health of an ecosystem is to find out what plants and animals live in that ecosystem. A forested area with Canada warblers nesting in the mountain laurel, marbled salamanders in the vernal pools and river otters searching for fish in the rivers and ponds is in better shape ecologically than one dominated by blue jays and snapping turtles, because the former species can't live in habitats that have been damaged and fragmented, while the latter can.

The people overseeing the Nature Conservancy's Saugatuck River Watershed Partnership in western Connecticut are taking the same approach. Instead of looking for pollutants in the Saugatuck and its tributaries, they want to see what lives there. The Advocate wrote about it a few days ago, here, but here's what Sally Harold, the project director, sent around yesterday:

Please join The Nature Conservancy's Saugatuck River Watershed Partnership as we revisit sites in the watershed to sample macroinvertebrates. On September 29th from 9:00 - 1:00 we will conduct our fourth annual macroinvertebrate identification training workshop with Michael Beauchene of CT DEP at the Weston Grange. Volunteers are divided up into teams and each team is assigned one site to survey. Our indoor training lasts about an hour and a half and teams conduct their site visits immediately following. We are usually finished up by 12:30 or 1:00. Pack your lunch and come enjoy a day in the beautiful Saugatuck River Watershed. Get your feet wet!

To register or to learn more about the program please contact Dave Dembosky, Conservation Manager at (203) 226-4991 x204 or by e-mail at

If the weather's good there are worse ways to spend a Saturday morning.



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