This summer, GLA intends to have the Crystal River undergo a “checkup” to understand how it measures up as a healthy river ecosystem. During the summer of 2017 the lower reaches of the river were studied and found to be in good shape.  In the coming summer, the same rubric for determining the health of the river will be conducted on the middle and upper reaches of the river.

To determine the “health index” of the river, the aquatic insects that live there will be sampled and studied. The presence (or absence) of certain aquatic insects can be used to interpret how the river is doing.  Typically, the more fragile insect species that are intolerant of environmental stress and pollution will show up in the sampling if the river is healthy.  Another indicator of river health is species diversity.  Healthy river ecosystems have high species diversity while unhealthy rivers are absent of fragile species and have low species diversity.

Why study the Crystal River? The GLA is all about the water and the river is part of our watershed.  In fact, the official name of our watershed is the “Glen Lake/ Crystal River Watershed.” We care about the quality of water whether it is underground, at the surface, or even flowing downhill ever so slowly into the pristine Sleeping Bear Bay in Lake Michigan. We like to think that the water from our watershed is actually improving the water quality in Sleeping Bear Bay – and that is really setting the bar high on what we so passionately care about!!

For more information on healthy rivers, click here.