Step 1: Internet Research
The main focus of this WebQuest is to explore the requirements freshwater fish must have in order to survive. To really understand what all the requirements are, you will look at the physical, chemical and biological aspects of streams. Fish have very specific requirements. Depending on what the stream is like, it might be a good fish stream or not as good.You will also learn about watersheds, as they are important to the health of streams. And finally you will check out how human activities can affect fish and stream health.
Time to get started on gathering information. To help you do this, here are some links to sites with important information about Freshwater fish, the habitat they live in and what they need to have a healthy life. Remember to refer to the questions on the Task page to guide your research.
To start off with you will need to know about some of the measurements that people use when studying water. Go to: http://ga.water.usgs.gov/edu/characteristics.html. It will give you information and define words used with water sampling. See how many of these terms you can use correctly in your final product.
Why you should care:
Clean water and abundant fish are obvious reasons to have healthy streams where you live. There is also another reason that is not as readily apparent but is really important. Fish, especially salmon, add a great deal of nutrients back into the area. Check it out at: http://www.sciam.com/article.cfm?id=the-fish-and-the-forest. So keeping streams health for fish is benificial not just to the fish but to all the life in the area.
In order to understand how important healthy streams are to salmon, it is necessary to study the salmon life cycle. To do so go to: http://www.fishex.com/seafood/salmon/salmon-life-cycles.http://www.fishex.com/seafood/salmon/salmon-life-cycles.htmlhtml. Which parts of the life cycle take place in freshwater?
Fish habitat requirements:
Go to: http://www.waterencyclopedia.com/St-Ts/Stream-Health-Assessing.html. It is a good place to start building your knowledge about what fish need.
This link will bring you to an article that does a good job of
explaining why we need to protect freshwater fish stream habitat. Go
Fish Habitat is really important. http://www.dfo-mpo.gc.ca/regions/central/pub/factsheets-feuilletsinfos-on/info-eng.htm gives a good description of what fish need as far as habitat.
When looking at good fish habitat it helps to know the different parts of a stream, and know if they are places fish like to live. This page: http://www.krisweb.com/stream/habtyp.htm has good information on this topic.
Fish need streams that have certain levels of sediment. Too much and the eggs are smothered. Go to:http://www.krisweb.com/stream/sediment.htm to find out what is going on with stream sediment and fish habitat.
Fish also need plants right next to the edge of the stream, also known as the riparian zone. Why? go to: http://www.krisweb.com/stream/riparian.htm to find out.
One of things that fish need in a stream is large woody debris. Can you have too much though? Check out this site to find out: http://www.niwa.cri.nz/pubs/wa/ma/12-1/wood
Can you find fish in any part of the stream? Go to:http://www.kidfish.bc.ca/frames.html and click on the "Our Rivers" button. This page has a lot of information about rivers, including factors that determine where fish are in a stream.
To see what the deal is with Macroinvertebrates, also called stream "bugs", and fish stream health, go to: http://des.nh.gov/organization/divisions/water/wmb/biomonitoring/edinv.htm
Another angle on stream health is to use fish as an indicator of how healthy the stream is. Check it out at this website: http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2005/11/051101081502.htm
The water story:
The most important thing all fish need is clean cold water. All the water that runs into streams comes from the watershed draining into that creak. To understand the route the water takes to the fish stream, you need to know what a watershed is so check out these sites.
For a good definition and illustration of what a watershed is go to: http://www.epa.gov/owow/watershed/whatis.html
Now go to: http://www.montereyinstitute.org/noaa/ and watch the flim clip about the water cycle. Which parts of this cycle happen in or on a watershed?What percentage of water is fresh? Where is it stored?
Many of the things people do affect streams and stream health in a number of ways. Building roads near streams can have a big inmpact on the health of the stream and its ability to support fish. This site: http://www.krisweb.com/watershd/roads.htm talks about this.
A great example of human action having an effect of a freshwater system is story of the Forest Service 3030 road on Prince of Wales Island. Go to: http://home.gci.net/~fsrd3030/ to read more about this issue and what they are doing to reduce the negative effects.
Choose an issue:
There are a number of issues regarding situations that are potentially harmful to freshwater stream systems of the fish that use the stream systems. Below is a list of links to some of these issues. Choose one, read up on it and include the issue and how it relates to freshwater streams and their fish in your final report.
Fish lice issue: http://www.farmedanddangerous.org/page/sealice
Atlantic salmon from fish farms: http://www.adfg.state.ak.us/special/as/docs/as_white2002.pdf Especially focus on the section on page 6 called The Problems.
Global climate change:http://www.climatechange.alaska.gov/cc-ak.htm. Think about what all these changes will mean to the freshwater needed by fish. Focus on the third point of the article. Also go to: http://www.usgcrp.gov/usgcrp/Library/nationalassessment/16WA.pdf and focus on the first paragraph and the section called Ecosystem vulnerabilities on page 5 of the document. Remember that Alaska covers an area that is mid and high latitude.
Clearcut style logging: This website describes the restoration of a stream on Prince of Wales Island, Alaska after it had been severely altered by logging practices. http://wildfish.montana.edu/Cases/browse_details.asp?ProjectID=75. It is a great example of what can happen if good logging practices are not followed.
Catch and release fishing practices: Using this technique the right way can be a good way to conserve fish. For Alaska Department of Fish and Game guidelines go to: http://www.sf.adfg.state.ak.us/statewide/flyfish/candr.cfm.