CT River Ecology Weekly Descriptions
Week 1: Watershed Overview
Attributes of geology, climate & hydrology set the physical stage for the cast of characters eking out a living throughout the watershed. Each of these aspects of the Connecticut River will be described, as well as the variability exhibited over timescales from days to millennia.
Week 2: Human History
From Native Americans and English colonists to Industrial Revolutionaries and suburban commuters, the Connecticut River has witnessed a remarkable variety of humans residing on its banks, and all of them have interacted with the river in unique and interesting ways
Week 3: Ecosystems
The Connecticut River is especially notable for how intact many of its ecosystems are, from headwater streams in the alpine zones in Vermont and New Hampshire to the exquisite tidal estuary of the lower river. In addition to surveying the characteristics of a spectrum of ecosystems, the charismatic wildlife species will also be highlighted.
Week 4: Fish and dams
Among the several species of fish inhabiting the Connecticut River, the migratory species are perhaps the most interesting, yet their movements are often stymied by the dams we have constructed in a variety of settings. Get to know the curious behaviors of species like American Shad and American Eel, and how their fortunes have changed over time in relation to dams and other aspects of the watershed.
Week 5: Underwater and underappreciated: Aquatic vegetation and macroinvertebrates
Submerged aquatic vegetation and aquatic macroinvertebrates are easily overlooked components of the river ecosystem, yet their ecological importance cannot be ignored. We will get to know the characteristics of representatives of both groups, as well as how they interact with water quality, fish, and wildlife.
Week 6: Conservation challenges past and present
The Connecticut River has experienced something of an ecological renaissance since Katherine Hepburn called it “the best-landscaped sewer in the world,” yet difficult environmental problems persist. After reviewing past insults and their present-day legacies, we’ll examine thorny issues that we continue to grapple with, and explore potential solutions that may be enacted by citizens and societies.