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Introduction How Rivers Run Stories Value Of A River What We Can Do
Beauty, Order, Productivity
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The beauty of a stream lies in the illusion of movement, tumult, freedom, and chaos as it runs headlong to bigger water and ultimately to the sea. But as Hearst's poem implies, there is a pattern to a stream's procession from mountaintop to sea. There is order to its chaos-to the way the water flows, to the shape of the channel, to the multitudes of insects, fish and other life that swim its waters.

In the last 25 years, scientists have gained new understanding of streams and the processes that form them and sustain them. In ways we didn't appreciate before, we realize that a stream is a product of activities throughout its entire watershed. According to author and stream scientist Thomas F. Waters, a stream is also an organism that has to be fed, it has to breathe, and to have its metabolic wastes processed.

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