Wildsight presents: Invisible rivers beneath our feet with Dr. Ric Hauer

Wild sight Kimberley Cranbrook invites the public to a special presentation, a talk with Dr. Ric Hauer, entitled ‘Invisible rivers beneath our feet: Gravel-bed rivers, the Elk River and coal mining” on Wednesday, May 29 at 7 p.m. at the College of the Rockies Lecture Theatre. This is a free presentation.

In the Kootenays, rivers don’t just flow in their visible channels, but also flow underground across the valley floor, supporting an extraordinary diversity of life, from grizzly bears, birds, wolves and fish.

Learn about gravel bed rivers, how there’s so much more to our rivers running below the surface and why our rivers are more important that we ever thought. Dr. Hauer will also speak about his research on water pollution from the Elk Valley coal mines, including on the effects of water pollution on macroinvertebrates, those crucial bugs that feed so many of the fish we love.

“To be effective, conservation efforts in mountain landscapes need a paradigm shift that has gravel-bed rivers and their floodplains as the central focus,” says Dr. Hauer.

Dr. Hauer’s research doesn’t just make visible the invisible rivers that run underneath our valleys, but also shows us that we cannot protect our wildlife, our landscapes or our rivers without seeing the interconnections between them. Simply put, gravel bed rivers are at the very centre of our ecosystems. If our rivers are harmed, we’ll see the effects across the landscape.

Dr. Hauer is the leading expert on the special river ecosystems of our area and has dedicated his career to studying gravel bed rivers in mountain ecosystems, publishing more than 100 research articles. For over 40 years, his research has focused on the transboundary watersheds of the Flathead and the Elk/Kootenay region, including rivers, floodplains, wetlands and their connections to our ecosystems. Dr. Hauer literally wrote the book on stream ecology, as his textbook Methods in Stream Ecology is the most widely used in the field.

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