Local News

Join the Hunt for Winter Stoneflies in the Belle River

By Friends of the St. Clair River

Friends of the St. Clair River (Friends) is hosting a Winter Stonefly Search in the Belle River on Saturday, January 29 from 10 a.m. – 12 p.m. at Columbus County Park, 1670 Bauman Road, Columbus. The event is free, open to families, and pre-registration is required.

During this riverside event, participants will wade into shallow areas of the Belle River to look for and collect winter stoneflies, an aquatic insect that completes its life cycle in the depths of winter, emerging as adults when there is snow on the ground. Cold weather still affords them food to forage on and very few active predators. Stoneflies have a high-sensitivity to pollution and low tolerance to poor water conditions so their presence indicates a healthy river.

Friends Education Manager, Melissa Kivel, said, “We were amazed at the thousands of stoneflies we found last year in the Belle River at Columbus County Park. We’re excited to get out there again because this winter stewardship opportunity allows families to connect with rivers that are full of life even in the coldest months. The data we collect helps us monitor changes in the watershed and make suggestions for future land use and water quality protection, and to have fun while doing so!” After the river portion of the event, participants will return to the park’s lodge for hot cocoa and analysis of insects collected from the river.

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Families can join the winter stonefly hunt either in the river or on shore with appropriate winter gear. Advance registration is required through Port Huron Parks and Recreation at www.porthuronrec.com and search for “Winter Stonefly Search” under Nature Programs. For more information, contact Melissa Kivel, Education Manager, at 810.531.6906, or melissa@scriver.org.

Friends of the St. Clair River is Michigan’s Thumb Coast watershed organization committed to inspiring citizen action through stewardship, monitoring and education to restore, protect and enhance the St. Clair River and its watersheds. Visit us at www.scriver.org and “Friends of the St. Clair River” on social.

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