Habitat in and beside streams & rivers

Mostly because of the importance of salmon to human economies throughout the Pacific Northwest, the ecology of streams and rivers is probably better understood by science than any other Southeast habitat.

Confluence of Rio Beaver and Thorne River, central Tàan, sea lion (Prince of Wales Island)

Array of channel types at Kadashan River. Classification follows Paustian (ed) A channel-type user’s guide for the Tongass National Forest (2010) R10 Technical Paper 26.

In 1985, when I was a wet-behind-the ears hermit naturalist, more interested in hiding out in the woods than confronting questions of human impacts to ecological function, diversity, or resilience, I was taken under the wing of a master-hydrologist named Dan Bishop—proprietor of a consulting business named Environaid. This was a mutually amusing partnership, during a period when I was as likely to tear flagging down as put it up (Ed Abbey, after all, posited that a time comes when a man has to pull up stakes).

I was initially skeptical of Dan’s logo, executed by Juneau artist Laurie Craig, which showed a happy dipper on a stream just in front of a dam. Message being, I guess, that with appropriate coaching from experts in moving water, human manipulations could retain functional habitat. (Today I concede he was right, problem being that there aren’t many Dans around—and even fewer since he died in 1991.)

With prodding from Dan’s associate Leigh Smith, I designed an alternative logo. Leigh and I thought that Environaid should have uniforms, to look more legitimate, and that these of course would need shoulder patches. You can view our draft design for this shoulder patch in Media types>Journals.

Hydrologist Dan Bishop was my mentor in consulting and in streamwalking.

By 1996, I had enough remove from the shock of Dan’s passing to write a tribute in Discoveries, the newly-fledged newsletter of Discovery Southeast.  Streamwalkers, in the fall issue, had this recollection:

From Dan I learned to dig holes, sniff sulfur, slurp through horsetail marshes, take pictures hanging from tree limbs, turn over rocks, hack survey lines through willow thickets, roll mud in my fingers, and then write about it. What I teach kids today is the same mucky, enlivening natural history – the art of paying sensory attention and asking continual questions. A naturalist’s questions rescue us from rootlessness: Where are we?! How did this place get like this? What’s around the next bend?

Although Dan was not a professional teacher, he embodied the highest goals of education: curiosity, fairness, civility, and great care—to take the time to get it right. In this sense, he was a founder of Discovery Southeast—the reason streamwalking remains our passion and quest, thirty years after dedication of the Dan Bishop Bay Creek Trail, where kids still listen to moving water that sings beside Auke Bay Elementary School.

In this section

Dipper hunting caddisflies

Hinyiklʼeix̱i, dancer in the water November 18, 2022  I love dippers but have had little luck filming them in their…

2022 | Richard Carstensen | 3 minute video

Teachers at Fish Creek, 2022

Four days at the delta and Eaglecrest From June 9 to 12, 2022, Discovery gave the 4th in our series…

2022 | Richard Carstensen | 46 page journal

Bishop et al study for Salmon Creek road, 1981

Environmental and cultural assessment for the proposed Salmon Creek road-pipeline development Before I began working with Dan Bishop in 1985,…

1981 | Bishop, Mills, Jacoby and Moore | 95 pages

Bishop, Armstrong & Carstensen (1987)

Environmental analysis of lower Jordan Creek From March through July, 1987, I assisted Dan Bishop and Bob Armstrong with an…

1987 | Bishop, Armstrong & Carstensen | 40 pages

Fish Creek walkthrough

Focus group tour On Thursday, August 26th, about 30 masked aficionados of dynamic Fish Creek delta assembled on invitation from…

2021 | Richard Carstensen, Bob Armstrong | RC-59 pages: BA vid-links

Fish Creek studies

Discovery-SAWC collaboration Beginning in early 2020, Discovery Southeast is assisting the Southeast Alaska Watershed Coalition with investigations at Fish Creek…

2020 | Richard Carstensen |

Staney Creek

Stream work documentation on Tàan, sea lion (Prince of Wales Island) The Nature Conservancy, US Forest Service, and dozens of…

2020 | Richard Carstensen | 19 minute slideshow

Exploring middle Kax̱digoowu Héen

Going back clearwater (Montana Creek) In late May, 2019, Discovery naturalist Steve Merli and I explored the middle reaches of…

2019 | Richard Carstensen | 5-minute slideshow

Kaxdigoowu Héen (Montana Creek): presentation for SEAL Trust

Slideshow in two parts Kaxdigoowu Héen, going back clearwater has been one of my favorite places since I first explored…

2019 | Richard Carstensen & John Hudson | slide show in 2 parts: 38 & 22 minutes

Aquatic insects book

Aquatic insects in Alaska John, Kathy and Bob collaborated on this amazing publication—yet another in Armstrong’s rich library of self-published…

2012 | John Hudson, Katherine Hocker, Robert Armstrong | 142 pages

1996 fall newsletter: Streamwalkers

About a decade after Discovery’s founding, we began collaborating with stream restoration initiatives. I served as a liaison between researchers…

1996 | Richard Carstensen | 3 pages

Cowee flight

100 seconds of aerial video over Ch’eet’ Taayí, murrelet fat (Cowee Creek), on the north end of the CBJ. End…

2017 | Richard Carstensen | 2 minutes

Kaxdigoowu Héen: Three days on clear water

In 2013 I participated in a 3 day teacher’s conference called STREAM: a Pedagogy of Place. During this “place-based” conference…

2013 | Richard Carstensen | 7 pages

Montana Creek Map Series

This document assembles aerial imagery and other GIS-based maps of Montana Creek for use by teachers in class and field.…

2013 | Richard Carstensen | 22 pages

Switzer/Marriott brochure

In 2004, with Kristen Romanoff of ADF&G, Discovery Southeast coached a student writing & art team that created an interpretive…

2004 | 2 pages, 1 MB

The streamwalker’s companion

This is an overview of streamwalking in Southeast Alaska intended for anyone who wants to put on a pair of…

2003 | Kathy Hocker|Terry Schwarz | 60 pages


Our laminated 4-fold guide to Streamwalking is the guide you’ll want in your pocket when you’re sleuthing the borders of…

2003 | Kathy Hocker & Richard Carstensen | 4-fold laminate