Sean’s blog: Why are streams important?

The transition into fall encompasses many shifts across Wisconsin. Summer break is swapped for school, shorts for pants, football kicks off, and jackets are brought out of storage. For me, I have to adjust from my research position with the Center for Limnology here at UW-Madison into a regular class schedule, all the while struggling to understand how senior year snuck up this fast. At WAV, this time marks the end of another monitoring season. The hard work of all our volunteers will be accumulated and analyzed, and we will begin preparing for the upcoming season. But as the leaves turn colors and we brace for colder weather, the streams we monitor will continue to flow (well, most of them).

Looking out over the water, with a marsh, docks and forest along the lake.

I’m excited to be back with the WAV team this year and am looking forward to writing blog posts for our newsletter. The post I wrote in May, “Peace on the Waterways”, was the first time I had ever written something like this, and I hope some of you enjoyed reading it as much as I enjoyed writing it. For the upcoming semester, I wanted to have a general plan for my posts. I was looking for a topic that could merge my technical experience in aquatic research with my love for Wisconsin waterways.

I want to explore the question: why are streams important?

My hope is that these blogs can expand the appreciation for our waterways by painting a more complete picture. I have not figured out the exact order I’m going to tackle these topics, but I am looking forward to researching each month and learning more along with you. Ideally, I’m hoping to highlight a new topic each month. As I said, I won’t be able to do this whole state and its streams justice. I just hope I can shine a spotlight on some important aspects of the badger state’s streams. I am of the opinion that the water resources of this state should be an immense source of pride for all of us. What we have access to as Wisconsinites is not common in the US and the World. The best way, I think, to grow that pride is to share experiences, knowledge, and the history of these amazing resources.

Sure I could give you a technical definition, and I’m sure I will, at some point. That said, the fun thing about that topic is; if I asked an individual why streams are important to them, the answer would change person by person. Streams can hold so much meaning for us as individuals, but also for communities, our state, and our environment. The environmental, biological, physical, and chemical aspects of streams are undeniably important (and undeniably interesting in my humble opinion), but it is the cultural intricacies that make them Wisconsin streams. We are certainly wealthy with freshwater resources in this state, and there will never be enough time to give everything the time of day it deserves.

Submit a topic

I’m excited to do a deep dive into the unique details and history of our state’s waterways and even more excited to share what I learn with all of you. I would also love for this to have some degree of interactivity, so if anyone reading this has a topic they would like highlighted or an experience they’d like to share; please reach out! That’s all for now, I’ll be back next month with something actually informative. In the meantime, I hope everyone enjoys the beautiful colors and crisp fall weather.