Rainy Day on the Rio Grande

On Thursday, December 4 we headed down south to visit Santo Domingo for our first official day on the Rio Grande. The weather forecast was awful, but we were hoping that the rain would hold off until the afternoon.

Our students at Santo Domingo had never been to the river with us before. Many had never put on waders, so much of the day was spent discussing wader safety. The study site on the Rio Grande isn’t as deep as the study site on the Rio Chama, and the water flows quickly. It’s a difficult spot to learn to wade. Fortunately, the students were smart and picked up on it quickly.

We also began exploring benthic macroinvertebrates, which the students all remembered from our last session. The water temperature was much too cold for students to be picking up rocks, so the instructors had the chilly task of supplying everybody with a stone and a loupe. We found quite a few caddis (and a caddis house) and a few snails. Everybody got to see a benthic macroinvertebrate on their rock. We began discussing what these indicator species can tell us, and then we went back in the river to find more.

Unfortunately, the weather only held out for a few hours. When the first group of students returned to school for lunch, the cold rain set in. We huddled in the back of the truck, hoping for the rain to stop. Because we are scientists, we had to measure exactly how cold it was (it felt colder).

Current air temperature- too cold for kids in t-shirts!
Current air temperature- too cold for kids in t-shirts!

By the time the bus returned with the second group, the rain was only getting harder. Few of the students had rain gear, so we had to cancel the second session. I guess that means we just get to go back!


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