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The Student News Site of Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts

The Student News Site of Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts

The Online Beacon

The Online Beacon

The Online Beacon

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Green Living

Erin Rodgers Comes To MCLA
Green+Living

Many people tend to turn a blind eye to environmental issues, but Erin Rodgers seeks to change this mindset through education and presentation. 

Last week Rodgers came to MCLA to hold an open presentation on the recurring droughts and floods the United States has been experiencing. She is Project Manager of Trout Unlimited, an organization which dedicates itself to recover rivers and streams, and to protect the lives of native trout and salmon. 

Rodgers explained, “We look for things that are going to help provide shelter for fish. One of the things we focus on is increasing large wooden habitats within streams… large wood provides shelter and cover from predators.”

She discussed the importance of putting back displaced biotic materials into streams. Even adding rocks and gravel to these rivers bring forth a variety of different organisms, good for not just trout, but for amphibians and other types of fish. As a result, the population of different species would begin to regrow. She expresses the significance of maintaining a nutritious cycle through the headwater system, ensuring healthier downstream water systems. 

Rodgers presented to the audience the story of a man and how a piece of large wood would become a home for all different species of animals. 

“One piece of large wood fell across the river on his property and so he put up a game cam. The number of different animals that use this one piece of wood is incredible…it just goes to show that if we do these restoration practices in a river, it’s not just helping the aquatic organisms, it’s helping a lot of different things…”

She explained how the 2022 July storm was a great chance for her to observe how stable the wood was in each stream. 

“When we had the July storm, we had the great opportunity of monitoring…and while there was movement within a certain section, all of the wood kind of stayed in that larger reach that we put it in. It was a great testimony to both how we do this work and how we think about the work as we’re moving through.”

Rodgers reminded the audience that not every project goes smoothly and there are many environmental and property conflicts which must be thought out carefully. According to Rodgers, it is often hard to balance the needs of ecosystems and at the same time considering private land ownership. 

“When we come to these problem banks, these big failing banks that are no longer reaching their floodplains…when you start to get to those wide flat areas down at the bottom of those big stream systems, that’s where all of your mapped floodplains are…where people’s houses are…but you can peel away that water bank…we slope those banks back and we can lay pieces of large wood underneath…and we plant over top it…we use native plants.”

She suggests that one way to battle these difficulties is through partnership. Often, it can be tough if not everyone wants to get on board, but collaborating with landowners and communities goes a long way. Working together with other corporations would create a larger movement, and landowners could ensure the protection of the streams and the ecosystems within it. 

“We’re currently working with the Berkshire Clean Cold Connected Restoration Partnership, and that’s state agencies and regional planning commission, and nonprofit organizations, and we work collaboratively…You can do a whole lot more for water quality by doing something small, which is often much more achievable on all sorts of scales…”

 

If you are interested in contributing to the protection and recovery of streams and rivers, check out www.mcla.edu/greenliving and Trout Unlimited | Home

 

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Mariposa Ribon, Staff Writer

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