Wednesday, 26 June 2013

Rivers of Washington State

A couple of months or so ago, I started this blog with the intention of being able to share stories from my investigations into environmental water management throughout Australia and the USA. I spent 6 weeks in the western USA, meeting amazing people dedicated to improving stream flows and the health of rivers... all of which I thought would make amazing blog fodder. 

Turns out, I was too busy meeting people, learning things and visiting rivers to write anything at all!  So my cunning plan of blogging around the USA has so far been much less of a success than I had hoped.

But it’s not too late! Today is just a short entry to share some of the excitement about the beautiful rivers and waterways of the western USA, but more will certainly follow.

One of the best parts of my trip so far has been experiencing the passion people hold for their rivers. Working on improving instream flows in the western US can mean restoring a stream to life, literally – by protecting enough water to keep the stream flowing over summer, streams can go from dry beds to rich aquatic ecosystems as anadromous fish find their way back upstream to their spawning grounds again. Sometimes, the restored flows means that fish are back in the headwaters for the first time in over 100 years.
For the people who work on restoring flows, this is more than just a job. They share in the delight of a restored river on a very personal level; partly because they are often anglers and outdoorsy; partly because each individual project to restore flows in a section of river can take years to achieve.

Showcasing some of this passion and delight in rivers is this collection of photos, which come from Brian Walsh at the Washington State Department of Ecology. As well as being beautiful, they show the variety of aquatic habitats throughout Washington. On this trip, I only got to see western Washington, around Olympia and Seattle, but I'm definitely coming back for more. 

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