A note from the Director

Over the past 45 years of research on Colorado Plateau ecology and conservation, I have realized that we missed something important: the canary's canary. Springs—places where groundwater emerges from the Earth's surface—are the most biologically diverse, vital terrestrial ecosystems, and are revered by indigenous cultures. Springs support more than 10% of the nation's endangered species, as well as upland wildlife and hundreds of rare, poorly known plant and invertebrate species. Inadequately protected and poorly understood, springs have been largely overlooked in conservation, education, and research. However, springs are sensitive indicators of aquifer and ecosystem health, and climate change. Realizing this, my colleagues and I founded the Springs Stewardship Institute (SSI), an initiative of the non-profit Museum of Northern Arizona. SSI is dedicated to advancing understanding and stewardship of springs ecosystems, educating the public and resource managers about the importance of springs stewardship, and working in partnership with other organizations, Tribes, and researchers to protect these critical resources.

SSI recognizes the need for discussion and communication and seeks professional collaborators in the scientific fields of geology, hydrology, geochemistry, ecosystem ecology, population ecology, conservation ecology, taxonomy, archeology, cultural anthropology, economics, public policy, and environmental regulation, as well as other fields to continue pushing our work forward.

Here are a few ways we can expand our collaboration on this important topic:

  • Establish a network of experts to help advise interested managers about springs stewardship

  • Convene a national scientific meeting of invited experts, with a published proceedings volume

  • Develop an electronic journal of springs ecosystem ecology and stewardship

  • Collaborate on critical scientific topics that help advance the field

  • Collaboratively expand the existing bibliography on springs ecology and management.

Please contact SSI if you are interested in helping us advance understanding of springs ecology and stewardship. Indicate if you are willing to share your area of expertise, your contact information and your website URL. Any references or contacts you consider worthy of sharing are most welcome and your assistance will be acknowledged if you permit us to do so. Thank you for your interest in this important area of study and advisement.

Larry Stevens, PhD
Springs Stewardship Institute
Museum of Northern Arizona
3101 N. Ft. Valley Rd.
Flagstaff, AZ 86001