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Alberta Update 2010
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Oregon Rivers Intro
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     Homepage for Rivers, Streams, and Aquatic Insects 

     This site is about rivers and streams, aquatic habitats, and about aquatic ecology in general.  It is  also about aquatic insects.   Much of it  is about the Saskatchewan River in Saskatchewan, Canada, and it is also about the Arctic, Oregon, Japan, China, and other places.  These pages are based in part on work done in my lab or in the field by myself or my graduate students.  Also it is about things that interest me and that catch my attention.    References are linked when they seem especially appropriate.   (First Published  4/29/2009)


New August 2011, teaching materials, bottom, menu at left.

Overview of the Saskatchewan River 

thermal rare enrich landscape.pdf

New, March 2011, videos,  Saskatchewan River, Saskatchewan.  See also Nutrients and Dams,Research Thermal,      Mystery of St. Louis communites, natural and altered

Clarkboro Ferry Sewage Impact short e-mail.wmv

Gardiner Dam Sunday Diefenbaker Lake e-mail size.wmv

New, March 2011, video just below,  Alberta Oldman River Dam, upstream  and downstream (sorry for grainy video- file size must be kept reasonably low: (see also Oldman Dam Alberta and Alberta Update)

Oldman upstream downstream July 2010 auto- e-mail final Tuesday.wmv

New March 2011, book chapter, page proof stage, Insects of the Sask. River System, Miyazaki and Lehmkuhl:

BSC-Miyazaki Lehmkuhl Sask Riv.pdf

New, Feb. 2011,Living Fossils?? and Biodiversity 2

New January 2011- Nuclear Power plant  on the Saskatchewan River?, upstream from Saskatoon drinking water?, near the intensive livestock operaton? http://www.canada.com/reginaleaderpost/story.html?id=793ae5ad-a10a-4fa5-af8b-6671dd8a9c12   -more, Saskatchewan Update

New, January 2011, Species of Interst (rare or endangered)-Canada and Montana for comparison

New, December 2010, Biodiversity (Mayflies), Sask and Canada 

New, November 2010- species level keys, in progress, with links to sources of information

New, November 2010. Renewed threats to the Saskatchewan River- plans to re open the Prince Albert Pulp Mill.  See Saskatchewan Update, menu left.

New, October 2010.  New proposals for the South Saskatchewan River  Outlook Area- Intensive livestock feedlot and tons of  nutrient wastes in vicinity of river upstream from Saskatoon.

New, August 2010 Oldman River in Alberta- Ft. Macloed, Also at this link, Oldman at Taber, Bow River near Brooks, South Saskatchwan River at Bow Island, Lemsford Ferry.

See more "New" below


South Saskatchewan River
As an introduction, I would like to point out that the Saskatchewan River is one of the most unique in the world in terms of aquatic insect diversity -See Below, 1/4 from top of page  ** .   Information from studies in my lab on  mayflies, or Ephemeroptera, is the basis for my conclusion.  The Saskatchewan River has nearly as many Families and  3/4 as many Genera as the whole country of China, and the river has many more Families and  almost as many Genera  of mayflies as the state of Oregon .  The Province of Saskatchewan has an additional three families and 10 genera, compared to the river (recent estimates).  See Below for details.
Not everyone will be fascinated by mayflies and  information such as the above, but  these organisms are  good indicators of the health of the environment and a measure of how we are treating it.

Knowledge of  rivers and streams and the organisms that should be in them  means that with  photos and observatons you can determine in a matter of minutes the general health and state of a river or stream.  See  for example Columbia River, Oldman Dam,  Oregon Winter Ponds, and Mystery of St. Louis
Both knowledge and infomation are required, --information is nothing more than facts, and facts may or may not be very useful. 
Knowledge however is gained through experience and study, and used correctly, knowledge along with information and facts can answer questions or provide a diagnosis of a problem or explain an observation very quickly. 
It is a concern that the Saskatchewan River  rapidly has been, and continues to be destroyed by dams already constructed, and dams and wiers that are planned.  See Environmental Laws, menu at top left..  Previously, pulp mills, chemical plant spills (mercury, see below), and city sewage had been a problem, but these are less serious now.  The main concern at present is the planned dam or dams, that if built will completely alter the natural flow regimes, and probably the temperature regimes that are essential for the river ecological community.

Overview of the Saskatchewan River

thermal rare enrich landscape.pdf


Benthic Fauna of the Saskatchwan River in Saskatchewan 

Aquatic Insect of the Sask River.pdf

Most sites in the Saskatchewan River System have already been severely altered by sewage, unknown chemical pollution, and especially by damsThe four sites included in the pdf above (duplicated  below) are Lemsford Ferry, Borden Bridge, Cecil Ferry, and Weldon Ferry,  (sites 1,7,8, and 9, map below) and they were chosen because they probably resemble the original river more than any other sites, -- no  pre-development samples are known from government or other sources. 

1. Lemsford Ferry, normal, but lake water begins at 1.

2. Gardiner Dam, Lake, zero benthic insects

3. Outlook Bridge,very reduced community

4. Cranberry Flats, very reduced community

  Clarkboro Ferry, reduced community

6. Birch Hills Ferry, some recovery

7.  Weldon Ferry, much improved

8.  Borden Bridge, normal

9.  Cecil Ferry, normal

10.  Confluence, normal


General Condition of the river, other sites:

Regarding other sites, Gardiner Dam and Diefenbaker Lake destroy hundreds of kms of river (1-3) , both upstream and downstream, Saskatoon sewage (5) continues even today to produce a "slimy" zone that locals prefer  to avoid but that is deemed unimpacted by Environment Canada.  Two dams are found downstream (upper right from 10), a pulp mill formerly emptied into the North Saskatchewan River (9), for decades large amounts of pesticides such as DDT were dumped into the river for blackfly control (at 4,6,7,9, and 10) etc. etc etc.    Many of the altered  sites are covered elsewhere on this website, and complete and widespread survey results throughout the season and over a period of many years are available in my lab.

Aquatic Insect of the Sask River.pdf

  The  lists and distributions of Mayflies, Stoneflies, and Caddisflies of the Saskatchewan River in Saskatchewan in the pdf above are mostly from careful taxonomic studies (Dosdall and Lehmkuhl, Smith, Mason, and Webb.


Blackfly research, slide show.

blackfly project.pdf

New- Feb. 2010  Oregon Winter ponds

New- March 2010  Mystery of St. Louis July 2006

New- March 2010 Additional Species of Interest

New March 2010 Sask.  Blackfly keys by Fredeen (under Sask River, Blackfly Research)

New March 2010  Sask. Mosquito keys by Remel (under Aquatic Insects, Mosquitoes)

New March 2010, those troublesome Adult Mayflies- my identification  tables (under Aquatic Insects, Ephemeroptera)

New May 2010, updates on the Oldman Dam and River


Nemieben River, in the boreal forest of north central Saskatchewan



 Repeat, table of EPT plus Chironomidae, below- mostly from Mason thesis work in my lab.

Aquatic Insect of the Sask River.pdf

Chironomidae and other Diptera

Accounts of rare, unusual, and endangered species in the Saskatchewan River



   Repeating from above, the Saskatchewan River is one of the most unique in the world in terms of aquatic insect diversity**  (but not for fish).   Information below about the mayflies, or Ephemeroptera, is the basis for my conclusion.  The Saskatchewan River has nearly as many Families and  3/4 as many Genera as the whole country of China, and the river has many more Families and  almost as many Genera  of mayflies as the state of Oregon .  The Province of Saskatchewan has an additional three families and 10 genera, compared to the river (recent estimates).

*** (Current field observations and searches of the scientific and other sources  indicate that it is the destruction of other river systems such as the Columbia and Missouri Rivers rather than the special nature  of the Saskatchewan system that explains this.  It is because of good luck  and remoteness that the Saskatchewan has not been likewise altered and destroyed.  ***   There is no special protection nor are there special laws in Saskatchwan or Canada (see Boyd, References and this link). There are no detailed publically available ecological studies on the river provided by those who plan to build the dams chemical plants.   Regarding good luck, at least from the point of endangered species and unique river communities, information can be found at: http://www.gov.sk.ca/news?newsId=7ca2387a-e0ee-46d0-8379-a2e0f92b256c.  Here we find that :"A study commissioned by the Saskatchewan and Alberta governments has found that
building a dam on the South Saskatchewan River near the Saskatchewan-Alberta border would not be feasible. (Google Meridian Dam, Saskatchewan River).  "The estimated project costs far outweigh the potential benefits, and building such a project would necessitate an unjustifiable investment of public money.  " Minister Responsible for Sask Water Ron Osika said. "The project is not economically viable, before even considering the possible environmental impact."  This dam, which would have been called the Meridian Dam, on the South Saskatchewan River,  north of Medicine Hat was considered in the 1990"s and as can be seen above it did not go forward.  To my knowledge,  no ecological river community studies were ever done by the government or consultants, even though the proposed dam would have destroyed the unique Lemsford Ferry site completely.  In the 1980's a large dam was constructed near Nipawin, which also destroyed large parts of the river.   Google Codette Dam Saskatchewan River.  Regarding future threats, a dam is now proposed  just east of "10" and "G" on the maps below.  See http://www.melfortjournal.com/ArticleDisplay.aspx?e=2201084 and http://www.khl.com/magazines/international-construction/detail/item9755/Saskatchewan-plan-CA$-1-billion-hydro-electric-dam/ and other websites by googling James Smith Dam Saskatchewan River.  Large areas of relatively undisturbed river will be destroyed if this dam is constructed.   From www.hydroworld.com/.../damsandcivilstructures/.../new-dam_wins_support.html) we learn about the James Smith dam that "The dam would be built across the Saskatchewan River where the North and South Saskatchewan rivers meet. The new dam will have little impact on the local ecosystem, said Andy McPhee, vice president of Brookfield Renewable Power, a project partner."   To my knowledge this statement about no effect on the local ecosystem is not based on science or field studies, and it certainly is not supported by decades of study and thousands of samples from the area by my lab.  I hope there is some explanation somewhere, and I am not sure where the project partner gets his information.  Another unknown is the $150-million metallurgical processing facility to be built near  Langham near Borden Bridge (table 2 and question 4) on the North Saskatchewan River and the plan for  the company to base its gold, copper, bismuth, cobalt,  and copper refinery here.  It is not known if the river in this relatively undisturbed area will be affected by effluents from the refinery, but it is said that the site was chosen in part because a water supply, as well as roads and rainlways, were available.  Is the "water supply" the river, and will the river be impacted ?  See:


and  google cobalt refinery Langham saskatchewan for further information.  Also watch for plans to build a number of more power dams on the river system).


***(Although many Federal, Provincial, and local government agencies, plus several NGO's (Environ., Canada., Sask Environment, Partners for the Saskatchewan Basin, The Meewasin Valley Authority, etc. etc. etc.) supposedly are interested in the Saskatchewan River and supposedly monitor water quality and ecology of the river, almost no information is available to the public.  We know this from personal experience.  Requests to Government offices thruough freedom of information mechanisms, plus fees of course,  yielded essentially nothing, except loss of the fee.  See also for example the following link for the type of informatin that is available on like for the Saskatchewan River system. . Compare searches for Saskatchewan River Water Quality in contrast to Columbia River Water  Quality  as an example.)






In addition, I know of no plans to do pre-dam  benthic ecological  for the proposed dam, and thus it will again be possible to claim that the dams have no impact on the natural river, because there will be no pre-construction samples to compare with.  Seems very strange, but maybe I am missing something.


Back to Mayflies, Ephemeroptera, and the unique Saskatchewan River:

(regarding  community structure, see Origins)

Oregon - 11 Families, 45 genera, and 142 species.                                                         China  -  17 families, 60 genera,  and 250  species  reported.                               Saskatchewan - 18 families,  54 genera,  107 species.                                 

Saskatchewan River-15 families,  44 genera. 58 species.

(Willamette River, Oregon, 8 Families, 15 Genera, 20 species)

California- 15 Families, 44 genera 155 species (Meyer and McCafferty)

Canada- 321 species, 20 Families:                                                                            

 North America- 675 species, 21 Families;                                                                    

World -2250 species.


A note on names- For the sake of simplicity,  I will often use the Genus name in what is the academically incorrect way- simply saying Caenis, for example, rather than the various formal alternatives.   


New  2010- winter samples from the Willamette River, Oregon
Above, undetermined Ameletus species from the Willamette River, Albany, Oregon
 New.  In August, 2009, a special trip was made to Lemsford Ferry, S. Sask. River, to search for rare and unusual species for taking photos and making short videos.  See Lemsford Ferry, and below.    
Raptoheptagenia cruentata Whiting and Lehmkuhl 1987, a rare and unusual predatory species, from the South Saskatchewan River at Lemsford Ferry (site B in the map near the middle of this page).

see also Rare Species , Lemsford Ferry, and Ephemeroptera
In the older literature you will see drawings of this larva labeled as Anepeorus sp (e.g. Edmunds, Jensen, and Berner 1976).  Now, the name is R. cruentata, above.  The change involved an unassociated larva and an unassociated adult both being described and named.  Finally, through rearing of larvae to the adult, it was seen that they were one and the same species.  The larva is so uniquie and different that Eric Whiting and I described an new genus  for the species.  The species name "cruentata" formerly existed, and by the rules of nomenclature, it was retained- thus- "R. cruentata".
The large individual is a living R. cruentata.  The smaller individual above is Isonychia.
See also Lemsford Ferrry for videos of this species, and coverage of Lachlania and Traverella.
Video of Live Raptoheptagenia cruentata



New- videos, 4 July 09-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

(These organisms are small (1 cm) and very active. Super macro is required. Also, file size must be kept within reason.  These videos are short, but hopefully illustrate the habitus of the living animals.  These are first efforts by me and I am working on better techniques).

Videos of Pseudiron centralis, an unusual carnivorous   species  found in the Saskatchewan River. (See also  bottom of page Rare Species and  Mayflies (Ephemeroptera); recent reports indicate that the species is very widespread and probably more common than previously though.  See Meyer and McCafferty, Mayflies of California, for example)

See Notes # 1

Pseudiron 174.AVI

Pseudiron camouflage river sand 177.AVI

Pseudiron on natural sand camouflage 202.AVI

Pseudiron gills and eyes 179.AVI


Other Videos

See Notes #2 Caenis (see also Ephemeroptera, under Aquatic Insects)


Caenis walking 192.AVI

Caenis swimming 196.AVI

More videos, mainly aquatic insects.


Table of Content

.Enhanced Table of Contents
Saskatchewan River Introduction
Above, Outlook Bridge, So. Sask. Riv.Above, a common substrate in the river
Left, LaColle Falls, an historic  and
never finished dam east of
Prince Albert

thermal rare enrich landscape.pdf

Overview of the Saskatchewan River, some environmental problems, and the unique mayfly fauna.
.Saskatchewan River Detailed Description
Duplicate Map

1. Lemsford Ferry

2 Gardiner Dam

3. Outlook Bridge

4. Cranberry Flats

5. Clarkboro Ferry

6. Birch Hills Ferry

7. Weldon Ferry

8. Borden Bridge

9. Cecil Ferry

10.Confluence of N. and S. Saskatchewan Rivers
A. Saskatchewan Alberta border

B.Lemsford Ferry

C. Upstream end of Diefenbaker Lake, formed by Gardiner Dam

D. Gardiner Dam

E. Cranberry Flats

F. Clarkboro Ferry

G. Confluence of N. and S. Sask. Rivs.
.Above, Cecil Ferry, east of Prince AlbertAbove, Lemsford Ferry
Concepts of
River Ecology
Origins, Distributions, Communities, Species Rare and Endangered Species

Research Dams and Reservoirs Thermal
Outlet of Gardiner Dam, Lake Diefenbaker, Saskatchewan


Organic Pollution, Nutrients, Sewage

Above and Below: Clear water and clean substrate, Saskatchwan River


Organic Pollution, Nutrients, Sewage

Above and below,  algae, sediments, shoreline material, organic and nutrient pollution.

                     Rotted organic materials,, organic pollution and nutrient pollution


Clean River Substrates in unpolluted areas.

Submerged weed and algal growths, Clarkboro Ferry, summer 2006


"slimy" substrate at Clarkboro Ferry, summer 2006


Blackfly Research Blackfly larvae

Application of pesticide from Ferry

To be continued