A view of rocky branch creek

Healthy Ecosystem in a Stream

Living organisms and nature working together make up a healthy ecosystem. In streams, it starts with aquatic insects or macroinvertebrates.

Here’s Why

Aquatic insects are an important part of the food chain and don’t survive without clean water. If they don’t survive – other wildlife won’t either.

All living organisms - from mayflies to red-shouldered hawks – rely on each other and a healthy environment to live.

  1. Mayflies eat leaves, algae, decomposing plants, and other smaller organisms in a stream.
  2. Larger aquatic organisms, like darter fish, feed on these insects.
  3. Larger fish or fish-eating birds, like great blue herons, eat darter fish.
  4. As adults - mayflies are food for insect-eating birds, amphibians, and mammals that live near a stream.
  5. Larger predators, like the red-shouldered hawk, eat these animals.



Joyce Gaffney
Environmental & Sustainability Specialist 

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