Life Streams

stonefly2How great it has been to have open windows at night and water sounds all the way into official summer. That hasn’t always happened. In 2002 this time in June, there was only silence.

We celebrated our water wealth when the grand daughters were here by discovering aquatic insects in Goose Creek.

I assigned them to draw based on google images of the insects 1) a mayfly; 2) a stone fly; 3) a caddisfly; and 4) a water penny. (That’s Abby’s stonefly picture I found yesterday.)

Then with  our illustrations as guides we went out under the bluff and found each of these insects, collected them in clear plastic containers, talked about them, and turned them only slightly traumatized back into the stream.

We wished that every stream was as clean and full of life as Goose Creek, but this is far from the case.

Watch this short video on Appalachian salamanders that are disappearing rapidly due to climate change, mountaintop removal, habitat destruction, and pollution. Regarding the latter, as the honeybees go, so go the mayflies.

Less than 1 part per billion of the neonicotinoid imidacloropid in streams is enough to kill mayflies. Not just honeybees.

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Fred First holds masters degrees in Vertebrate Zoology and physical therapy, and has been a biology teacher and physical therapist by profession. He moved to southwest Virginia in 1975 and to Floyd County in 1997. He maintains a daily photo-blog, broadcasts essays on the Roanoke NPR station, and contributes regular columns for the Floyd Press and Roanoke's Star Sentinel. His two non-fiction books, Slow Road Home and his recent What We Hold in Our Hands, celebrate the riches that we possess in our families and communities, our natural bounty, social capital and Appalachian cultures old and new. He has served on the Jacksonville Center Board of Directors and is newly active in the Sustain Floyd organization. He lives in northeastern Floyd County on the headwaters of the Roanoke River.

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  1. If the maximum fine is levied, which I doubt will happen, each bumblebee would be worth .40 – a very tiny sum compared to the value of the fruits and vegetables that it could pollinate. I hope the landscaping company and the leasing agent are prosecuted to the max. An innovative sentence like breeding and releasing pollinators for the next 10 years might be in order … Won’t happen, though. What does it take? Famine?