Shortly over a year ago, the Woodwell Climate Research Center joined forces with well renown company Fishpond to create an organization with a mission to better understand the effects that climate change has on rivers.

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Photo courtesy of SOTF.

They started in Telluride, Colorado with a small handful of rivers. These rivers were sites used to monitor the health of the river using water samples. How do they do it?

By taking water samples and analyzing them, a river’s well-being reveals itself in the form of herbicides, chemicals, and things like fertilizer, oil, or wastewater. The amounts of each of these materials in the river offers clues to its health, which, if monitored over time will provide scientists and anglers alike with current conditions for rivers.

While the project started small, it quickly gained momentum and now has volunteers taking water samples at over 200 sites. These volunteers send their data back to the Science on the Fly lab to be analyzed and recorded.

Volunteers have never been in shortage, because of their target volunteers: the fly fishing community. It makes perfect sense, as this is a group of people who are passionate about the places they play in. The research is working out well and is contributing to the speedy growth of the organization.

Science on the Fly” engaging anglers to expand water sampling - Woodwell  Climate
Photo courtesy of Woodwell Climate Research Center.

In time, Science on the Fly will have detailed monitoring of rivers all over the world. Their science will be able to track health trends of hundreds of rivers and predict how they may change on a local and widespread level. This research will give us a greater understanding of our fishery and help us protect them.

Work being done by Science on the Fly does take funding, and they’ve made it easy as ever to help out! With the purchase of a Science on the Fly t-shirt or hat, you help fund river research in the United States and beyond.

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SOTF hat.

Learn more about Science on the Fly here, or check out this Flylords article for some behind-the-scenes information. Keep an eye out for more news from Science on the Fly as they continue to grow!

Ryan Rintala | Social Media @mattheronflyfishing