We are fortunate to have students from Salem State University working with us to understand the impact of the severe drought of 2016 on river life. Students; Rob Bollmann, Kelsey Bernard and their professor, Dr. Lynn Fletcher, are working are comparing macroinvertebrate specimens to see what changes might have occurred as a result of the severe drought last summer. Mary Everett, a student at UMass Lowell and long-time volunteer is working on a related GIS mapping project.
Most types of aquatic animals are small invertebrates (mostly aquatic bugs) that are vital to the food web. These are often studied as indicators of river health. The severe drought of 2016 had a visible effect on fish where fish kills were observed at places like Martin’s Brook, but more needs to be known about what effect droughts have on macroinvertebrates and what this means for the long-term health and recovery of river life. We appreciate the work being done the students and faculty at our local Universities to help answer these questions and look forward to working with them over the next few months.