Living With the Methow River
Monthly Activities and Learning Opportunities
Why two pages this month? The new 2017 MRC Calendar is out and it overlaps with the last two months in the 2016 calendar. January and February 2017 will have content from both calendars. New calendars are available at the Twisp and Winthrop libraries and the Riverbank office on Glover Street in Twisp, and a digital copy can be downloaded from the link at the bottom of this page.
This month on the new calendar is about stream flow. As it happens, this flows naturally into this month on the old calendar.
Warming temperatures in the spring and summer turn the winter snowpack into cold water rushing into the Methow River. River levels drop in the fall as the snowpack begins to run out, and as the water becomes slower and shallower, it warms up. In dry years where the snowpack is small, and in warm years when the snowpack melts too soon, and the river runs shallower and warmer than usual. This can be hard on local fish species better adapted to colder water.
By monitoring river volume and temperature, we can identify their effect on local species and plan ahead to maintain these species in a warmer future. Infrared cameras help us see what works and what doesn't for bringing water temperatures down. On the ground, restoring and conserving riparian vegetation (shade trees) over the river helps block heat from reaching the river in the first place.
This thermal image shows the confluence of the Methow and Chewuch rivers (Chewuch labelled above, Methow below) near the Winthrop Fish Hatchery. Colder water is colored darker. Notice the warmer water of the Chewuch where it meets the Methow, and the cold spot formed by the outlet of a creek just downstream of the confluence.
(Looking for last month? Click here.)
This year’s MRC calendar connects to ADVENTURES, ACTIVITIES AND INFORMATION tailored to each month. If you haven't gotten your calendar yet, you can download an electronic version here.
Come back each month and find interactive activities, print outs, and suggested learning opportunities in our community.