by Anne Marie Roberts, James River Association
Autumn is one of the most beautiful times of the year to go for a ride in the country, hike a trail to a magnificent view or just sit on the front porch to view the leaves changing colors. We definitely appreciate the beautiful fall colors and the falling leaves that go with the season.
However, we are not the only ones that appreciate these falling leaves! Taking a closer look, tiny aquatic organisms in our creeks, streams, and rivers do too. Leaves falling from hardwood trees and shrubs in forested buffers result in food for many aquatic organisms and insects in our streams and waterways.
Shredders like the caddisfly and stonefly eat leaves and other organic material that deposits in the stream which also helps filter out nutrients. Research shows that macro-invertebrates prefer leaves from native trees, such as silver maple, sycamore, and alder, to fuel them and help them grow! Just another reason why James River Buffers are so important!
Learn more about native tree leaves and their contribution to stream ecology!