Paper pub. date
February 2015
ISBN 9780870717703 (paperback)
ISBN 9780870717710 (ebook)
6 x 9, 288 pages. B&W Illustrations. Figures. Maps. Notes.

For the Love of Rivers

A Scientist's Journey

Kurt D. Fausch

Rivers and streams supply our water and capture our imaginations. We seek the more pristine ones to fish or paddle, to hike along or simply sit and watch. But what is it we are seeing?  What is essential about streams and rivers for us as humans?

In For the Love of Rivers, stream ecologist Kurt Fausch draws readers across the reflective surface of streams to view and ponder what is beneath, and how they work. While celebrating their beauty and mystery, he uses his many years of experience as a field biologist to explain the underlying science connecting these aquatic ecosystems to their streamside forests and the organisms found there—including humans.

For the Love of Rivers introduces readers to the life and work of Shigeru Nakano, a pioneering river ecologist who inspired other scientists around the world with his innovative research on stream-forest connections. Fausch takes readers along as he journeys to Japan, where he awakens to an unfamiliar culture, to Nakano, and his research.

Nakano’s life was abruptly ended in a tragic field accident, and his death was deeply mourned. Fausch joins Japanese and American colleagues to continue Nakano’s research legacy, learn everything they can about the effects that humans have on rivers, fish, and their intricate links with riparian zones, and share this knowledge with others.

More than a book about stream ecology, For the Love of Rivers is a celebration of the interconnectedness of life. It is an authoritative and accessible look at the science of rivers and streams, but it also ponders the larger questions of why rivers are important to humans, why it is in our nature to want to be near them, and what we can do now to ensure the future of these essential ecosystems.

Winner of the Sigurd Olson Nature Writing Award

Watch the book trailer!

About the author

Kurt Fausch is a professor in the Department of Fish, Wildlife, and Conservation Biology at Colorado State University, where he has taught for 33 years.  His collaborative research has taken him throughout Colorado, the West, and worldwide, including to Hokkaido in northern Japan. His experiences in Japan were chronicled in the PBS documentary film “RiverWebs.” He has received numerous awards from the American Fisheries Society and the World Council of Fisheries Societies, and served as the acting Director of the Graduate Degree Program in Ecology at CSU.

Read more about this author

"This open window to the mind, heart, and adventures of an accomplished ecologist offers a rare and insightful view for any of us who care about streams, fish, and nature. Join Professor Fausch on the kinds of expeditions that unfold when a curious scientist asks good questions about the intricate and mysterious workings of the natural world." -- Tim Palmer, author of Field Guide to Oregon Rivers, Rivers of America, and Lifelines: The Case for River Conservation

“In this beautifully written and soulful book, Kurt Fausch exposes the raw nerve of conservation: do we care enough about the natural world to save some of it? He concludes that the urge must come not from monetary justification or scientific warnings, but from a realm ‘beyond the reach of language,’ from the place in our hearts where love resides.” —Brian Richter, Chief Scientist of the Nature Conservancy’s Global Water Program, and author of Chasing Water: A Guide for Moving from Scarcity to Sustainability

“With deft storytelling and poetic prose, Kurt Fausch conveys the mystery and magic of flowing waters — and why we need to protect them. For the Love of Rivers is a must-read for anyone who loves rivers and the natural world, which Fausch argues is all of us —whether we consciously know that or not.” —Sandra Postel, Freshwater Fellow, National Geographic Society, and co-author of Rivers for Life

"Kurt Fausch takes us on an incredible journey of scientific discovery, told through the lens of personal tragedy and triumph. Fausch's passion for learning about how streams work is infused throughout the tale, which is inextricably linked to his relationship with his long-term collaborator Shigeru Nakano, who died tragically but heroically along the way. Fausch's personal and scientific journey combined with his philosophical exploration makes For the Love of Rivers a complex literary work. Fausch succeeds in this task, giving us a readable account, thorough, but not obtrusive scientific documentation, and a passionate personal and philsophical discussion. It takes courage for an ecologist to write that we ought to love rivers. This is a book that had to be written. It is one that ought to be read." -- John J. Piccolo, Fish and Fisheries

"Fausch presents a rare view into the life of a scientist by describing heartfelt events that resonate in each of us, through accomplished storytelling. He recognized that his story of conservation was most effective through illustrating innate feelings of connection - to nature and to each other - and allowing for each human's love of waterways, of rivers, to pass freely through the tributaries of one's self. It is this love for the rivers of the world, near and far, that carries Fausch and his audience downstream, meandering through deep beauty, striving to protect and nurture the increasingly restricted lungs of Earth. Borrowing from Aldo Leopold, he wonders, "What if there is no more river music?" For the Love of Rivers takes us on Fausch's personal journey to answer this question, and around each bend is a surprising lesson in life and love...The events shared in this work are so emotionally moving and scientifically fascinating...It is writing like this that is needed to encourage and guide us in our pursuits of understanding and stewardship, and illustrates how perhaps the only way we can protect and cherish these wonders is through emotional connection to each other and to nature." - Brent S. Pease, Natural Areas Journal

Upcoming Events

The annual meeting of the Ecological Society of America invites all ecologists to come together and share new knowledge, learn from one another, meet old friends and make new ones, and grow professionally. This year’s meeting will emphasize the society’s mission of supporting ecologists throughout their careers.

Visit us in the exhibit hall at booth 12.

9:30 am, Monday, August 5th - 6:30 pm, Wednesday, August 7th

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