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Trout Stream Stewardship

    With the rapid growth and development that our generation is experiencing, it is of paramount importance that we make sure that we safe guard our natural assets! For me, the clean flowing trout streams of my surrounding area have been the focus of my attention.

    I have always believed that real results are achieved by a grass roots effort. After all, we do take care of our own backyards in everyday life and this is a matter of fact! All that it takes is an effort to expand those neighbourhood boundaries a little!

    Like with many small organizations, with a good cause, it has been my experience that once you “get the ball rolling”, plenty of support will soon follow! I have witnessed this first hand, over the last 25 years that I have been involved in fish habitat enhancement projects!

    The primary object of this website is to stir up a little interest in this unique form of environmental stewardship and hopefully encourage its future!

Bow Valley Habitat Development

Fish Habitat Enhancement

A Season on the Water

    This past summer was not as busy as it has been for me, but it turned out to be a rewarding one anyway! After three major and one smaller willow and tree planting events on Bighill Creek and Millennium Creek, I finished off the fish habitat part of my season with a spawning enhancement project, at the primary inflow spring on Millennium Creek. We had already had fair success with spawning habitat that had been created further down the system, but this years planned project would provide optimal spawning habitat for brook trout on the small stream, right where the clean spring water enters the system.

    As is the case with many of the projects that I have been involved in, you are never sure of success until you see the results before your eyes! There is always a certain amount of anxiety after a project is completed, soon followed by anxious anticipation, if your waiting for some type of significant evidence that your hard labour has provided a good return. This is especially so, if you have created a spawning area for wild trout! A successful spawning habitat can provide a major benefit to a fishery if it is utilize to the full extent!

    After Jake Gotta and I completed the spawning channel habitat in early September of 2010, I inspected the site on a regular basis in late September and on into October. Then in the second week of October, the first sign of spawning was observed at the newly created spawning channel. The site became a more frequent destination for me in the following weeks, as I started to identify more trout redds (egg nests) and observe more spawning trout in the channel. The channel that we created was only 10 metres in length, but by the end of October, I had mapped 29 brook trout redds and every inch of the new spawning gravel had been disturbed by spawning trout.

    I took a considerable amount of both photographs and video footage of the entire fall spawning event on the creek and you can see some of it on the Fish Habitat Video link on the left hand side of this web page. There is also a link on the Millennium Creek Stream Reclamation page that also can be found on the left side of this page. It has been a good season, but the success of this most recent of projects does help encourage me to continue in this field of work. It is my hope that you enjoy navigating around this website and because of the large number of photos, it may be a little slow. I will try to keep this website up to date in the years to come. I take great pleasure in watching how the many project sites change over the years!


Fish and Riparian Habitat Enhancement


    Where the impacts of human activity have either directly or indirectly affected the natural state of fish bearing streams, mitigation or remedial measures may be required to compensate for those negative impacts. Methodology designed to repair or enhance both riparian and fish habitat has been used to facilitate the recovery of many streams in recent years. The technology used is still being developed, especially in the area of bio-engineering plants for the enhancement of riparian zones.

    It is of major importance that any in-stream structures emulate the appearance of a natural stream habitat. This is achieved by the use of natural materials such as boulders, timber and living plants. The used of these materials adds a special challenge to the engineering and construction of structures that will stand up to the influences of high flow events, winter ice and frost conditions.

    Also important, is the necessity of having all of the necessary permits and permissions from government agencies that are responsible for managing our flowing water ways. In some cases this can be a lengthy process, but it is required by law and common sense.

    Riparian and fish habitat enhancement programs are not only beneficial to maintaining our streams, but they also arouse interest from the general public and help educate people of all ages about the importance of our flowing waters and how we all can protect them!

Above:  This is a photo of one of the many log v-weirs that were constructed on Canmore Creek in 1997 and 1998. Photo taken in 1999.

Copyright 2011          Website Design, Illustrations and photos by Guy Woods, Director/BVHD. All rights reserved.            Bow Valley Habitat Development, #5 Glenport Road, Cochrane, Alberta, Canada. T4C 1G8   Phone: 403-932-4467

    Bow Valley Habitat Development is an organization that forms partnerships to complete grassroots riparian and fish habitat enhancement projects in the Bow River Watershed. Since its operations began in the later part of the 1980’s, BVHD has been responsible for the successful completion of over 40 major fish and riparian habitat enhancement projects. This website is primarily designed to help educate readers about the various forms of both riparian and fish habitat enhancement techniques used in the field and to share information about some proven and tested approaches to enhancement design and methodology.