Biodiversity Canada Sask.
Biodiversity 2
Living Fossil??
Identification, Taxonomy papers
Environmental Laws, Canada
Species of Concern
Oldman Dam Alberta
Alberta Update 2010
Saskatchewan Update
Saskatchewan River
Saskatchewan River Detail Descriptive
Background Concepts of River Ecology
 Communities, species, origins, distribution
 Rare and Endangered Accounts
Additional species of interest
Current status and conditions
Mystery of St. Louis 06
The River at Saskatoon
Lemsford Ferry
Communities Natural and Altered River
Dams,Research Thermal
 Research Nutrients and Eutrophication
Blackfly Research
undisturbed sites, a comparison
Aquatic Insects
Oregon Winter Ponds
Oregon Rivers Intro
Willamette River
Columbia River
Missouri River
China Yangtze River
Arctic Canada, Rankin
MacKenzie River Canada
Fish- Rivers
Teaching Materials

Relevance to this website   

My point here is that  the Oldman River page, the Dams, Thermal Research page, the Nutrients research page, the Rare Species Page, and others, is not that everyone should be concerned about tiny river bugs, but rather that if we are destroying this biodiversity and ecological habitat, it indicates what we are doing to ourselves and to our envirnonment.  The Laws page is an indication about the attitude of Canadian society in general about biodiversity, natural systems, and the environment.

We are told  (http://www.usask.ca/water/) that in Saskatchewan  we are spending millions of dollars of your  tax money to hire dozens of world class experts and support hundreds of students in our "center of excellence" to  understand and protect our water environments.  Sadly  it is impossible to get detailed and relevant information about the polluted and plundered river in our own backyard.   

therm rare sp. final.pdf

(A University website invites us to examine this information regarding world class centers of excellence:  http://www.usask.ca/water/,   http://www.usask.ca/toxicology/, http://www.usask.ca/hydrology/,  http://www.usask.ca/toxicology/About%20the%20Centre/Aquatic%20Toxicology%20Research%20Facility.php, http://www.lightsource.ca/http://www.usask.ca/sens/index.php, http://www.usask.ca/sph/index.php, http://www.usask.ca/water/aboutus.php#tools_for_water.http://www.usask.ca/water/aboutus.php#tools_for_water the state of .

Given information on Environmental Laws in Canada, examples such as  the Mystery of St. Louis, and the associated  lack of information even when freedom of information processes are used,  (see Home). given the strange processes that are now being  used in the new dam decisions at the confluence of the  North and South Saskatchean Rivers (see Home), given the metal refining plant near Langham and the lack of information about it (see Home),  and the lack of proper processes for the Oldman Dam in Alberta, , etc, and also given the boasting and  huge budgets  mentioned on http://www.usask.ca/water/ , should  we not  expect and even demand transparency, results, facts, relevance,  and productivity from these institutions, labs, and exceedingly talented scientists? 


The concept along with field observations and scientific facts:

1. a group of signs and symptoms that together are characteristic or indicative of a specific disease or other disorder

2. things that form pattern: a group of things or events that form a recognizable pattern, especially of something undesirable

Lehmkuhl et al Danks and Paper.pdf


Concepts related specifically to flowing water habitats:

Stream Continuum Concepts and the Saskatchewan River.

            Ecologically,  it is possible to think of a river system, from source in highlands  or mountains to the  mouth at a lake or the ocean,  as a long food processing assembly line, and the original organic material  is almost entirely   from outside sources (allochthonous)  such as fallen leaves or branches of trees  in contrast to the growth of leafy plant or algae -primary production -produced inside the system, -as is the usual case in lakes (autochthonous).   Organic materials start as large and solid objects such as leaves or stems, and these undergo progressive degradation, fragmentation, and processing (Vannote et. al. 1980).  

vannote_1980 RCC.pdf

 To discuss further, course and intact leaves and other material are especially abundant  in the mountain headwaters, and such  streams are classified as  Order 1, 2, or 3 streams (Vannote et. al. 1980, above). These upstream areas are typically characterized by an insect community of about 40% shredders, representing various Families and Orders, with large and heavy mandibles or other means of reducing the solid organic materials to fragments.   Along with the 40% shredders in the upstream community, the community may consist of  nearly 50% collectors that feed by filtering with nets or other devices.  Finally, there may be about 15 % predators and grazers. 

 Going downstream half way from the source to the mouth of the river (classified as  Order 5 and 6 streams), the shredders may be reduced from 40 % to about 5 % .  Shredders are  replaced by grazers, that may increase  from 10 % to 40 %.  The number of collectors usually remains at more than 40%.   This is explained by the fact that there are more fine fragments, there is more light and the water is warmer, the shredders and gougers  which are abundant upstream  in Orders 1-3 streams find less material to process, and thus this group declines.  Fine particles, diatoms and algal growth become more abundant,  and thus the change in dominance.  There will probably be a major change in species composition and community dominance, but the number of species will probably be very large in both the headwater and mid-Order streams..

  In the far downstream portions of the river or stream (Order 11 or 12  of Vannote et. al. 1980) , depositional areas of mud will be abundant and there will possibly be even planktonic growth in addition to  the particles and bacteria that have been processed and  are  arriving  from upstream.  The downstream area would typically be characterized by burrowers in mud and filter feeders, and these collectors might make up as much as 90% of the community.   There would be a great reduction in the number of gatherers, scrapers, and gougers.  The diversity in these areas near the mouth may be low compared to upstream.  Especially species of  Plecoptera, Ephemeroptera, and Trichoptera cannot survive here.  They may be replaced by Chironomidae and non insect species such as clams and annelids (in addition to  Vannote et. al. 1980, see for example Smith and Smith 2001 for more explanation),.


What about Saskatchewan?

Prairie Rivers and RCC (River Continuum Concept)

             In this  river continuum method of analysis, the Saskatchewan River is mid-stream, with a large diversity of collectors and grazers, such this probably explains the many species of Baetids, Heptagennids, and Hydropsychids, plus many river Chironomidae, and others.  A variety of predators is also present, as are  burrowers such as Ephemerids in the depositional areas.  As a results, the insect communities in Canadian prairie rivers are as a whole, very diverse, with many unusual species that are  rarely found  elsewhere.

Under Construction

To be added:

  • Physical and Chemical Features
  • Detrital and Grazing Systems, Allochthonous vs. Autochtonous
  • River Continuum Concept (RCC) 
  • Energy Pyramid

What are the significant Physical and Chemical  Features of Rivers in general?

Whereas small streams and ponds may be  unstable, dynamic, perhaps dry seasonally, and subject to solid freezing in the winter, all features that can be lethal to many species,
rivers in contrast typically  provide a large, reliable, constant water flow in at least some portion of the channel for the entire year, and this habitat is available even at times of low water or extreme cold.

This water is normally always well oxygenated, and natural rivers are typically free of noxious gases, toxins, or stressing levels of heavy metals or other pollutants. Rivers are often  well buffered by calcium and other minerals from the surrounding soils, and are usually basic to neutral in pH (in west and central North America).  River organisms are not adapted to low oxygen conditions, they are sensitive to toxins and organic pollution, and they do not experience drastic changes in water chemistry.  The river community contains many sensitive species, which can serve as very good indicators of water quality and pollution.

Local Significance

Some local details are that in the case of the Saskatchewan River,  some unusual species (Rare and Endangered Species) thrive in the relatively large Battle River, but they are not in.  The Torch and other medium sized rivers.  These  should be studied more.  In the case of the numerous ponds in the region, overlap  between ponds and the river is almost nil (possibly some Chironomidae,incidental Trichoptera, etc. can inhabit both).

Ecologcal and Distributional Significance

 The above is  significant in answering the question of  whether  rare and unusual species can escape from pollution  in the Main River by inhabiting and surviving in tributary streams or even nearby ponds.  The data show that the answer is no, and there are reasons.  Samples from small branch steams  the Little Red River, at Prince Albert entering the river show that river species do not inhabit tributary streams, and stream species do not live in the river. This is because the river is a special habitat, different in significant physical and chemical ways from the surrounding habitats, to be discussed in detail below.

more to follow