Toronto – Recent research has indicated that that the most crucial components in the landscapes of mountains are its river floodplains. River valleys throughout the North American continent serve as crucial living environments for a broad range of animals. These include mammals (notably wolves and grizzly bears), fish and birds.
These findings appeared in Science Advances, a prominent Internet journal. The people who studied the subject were a mix of limnologists, ecologists and biologists who specialize in wolves and grizzly bears alike.
Harvey Locke is a conservationist who was part of the research. He stated that gravel-bed river systems are without a doubt the most crucial components located within mountain landscapes. It’s relatively common knowledge that rivers are highly valuable for both cottonwood trees and fish. These new findings, however, provide even more detail regarding the topic. These findings state that river floodplains are also vital for the survival and flourishing of animals including elk, wolves and grizzly bears.
“The big point is that gravel-bed river systems are the most important feature in the mountain landscapes for nature, by far,” said y Locke.
Lead author and University of Montana Professor Ric Hauer, director of the Center for Integrated Research on the Environment said:
“If we think about the Flathead River for example, flowing from British Columbia into the U.S. and along the western edge of Glacier National Park,” Hauer said, “we might wrongly imagine that the river is only water flowing in the channel. But, these gravel-bed systems are so much more than that. The river flows over and through the entire floodplain system, from valley wall to valley wall, and supports an extraordinary diversity of life. The river is so much bigger than it appears to be at first glance.”
Researchers think these findings could potentially affect Alberta policy in a couple ways. Authorities in the province are assessing dams to control post-flood rivers. Authorities are also evaluating dams to assess their potential to supply hydroelectric power to the community.