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. The 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 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 waterways. 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!
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I just uploaded the new article on Ranch House Spring Creek. You will find it in the main menu, at the top of the page. Just click on the title and read on.
Ranch House Spring Creek was until a few years ago, a primary spawning tributary to the Bighill Creek, now it has been destroyed by a new storm drain outflow, from a new development on the top of the Bighill Creek valley. This should never have happened in our community. Please review the article to get the dirty details.
Another year of planting on the Bighill Creek. The Bighill Creek is now the only stream in the “Bow Valley Riparian Recovery and Enhancement Program” left to plant on, which will keep the program going, and our riparian planting work in focus. This will be the eighth year of the riparian planting program, which has resulted in a total 71,968 native plants on over 30 kilometres of stream bank. Just today I did a grand total from all of the final reports and came up with the correct amount. I had thought it was more like 75,200 or something like that, but I was wrong.
The total plants planted in the “BVRR&E Program and there distribution are as follows:
West Nose Creek — 42,441 native willows and trees.
Bighill Creek ———-12,747 native willows and trees.
Nose Creek ———–16,655 native willows and trees.
Millennium Creek —– 100 native willows.
Jumpingpound Creek – 25 large diameter willows.
The planting area is approximately 36 kilometres of stream bank, on all of the streams combined.
The fact that I screwed up on the totals can be directly blamed on me, for relying too much on a poor way of doing a year end tally, some where in the recent past few years. In any case, The total of almost 72,000 plants is still pretty good, so I don’t feel too bad about it. Remember, I will continue to report on how the plants are progressing, with plenty of photos from the planting sites. Some more video will come down the line as well.
Here it is, mid January and I am anxiously waiting for the first trout hatch of the year to happen. When it does, I promise to catch a few photos of the new generation of trout for our Bighill Creek. The hatch actually happens on the Millennium Creek, so the trout will eventually move downstream into the Bighill Creek when they are ready. The Bighill is a tough neighbourhood for small trout, so you need to be big enough before you enter the water’s of the Bighill.
The Millennium Creek is an important nursery habitat and spawning tributary to the Bighill Creek. Since the small stream was restored over a four year period, starting in 2005 and being completed in 2008. That is only three years, the extra year comes into play when you add in the year prior to the actual in-stream work, which was spent putting the program together, and finding funding partners.
Then is 2010, an additional spawning channel was constructed on the creek, and then things really started to take off, with an average egg nest count of trout redds in the mid twenties, being mapped annually. This really added to the spring creeks annual importance for recruitment of new generations of trout every year. This new year, the trout egg hatch will be the eleventh successful egg hatch on the spawning channel, alone. The mainstem spawning on Millennium Creek is also successful, but harder to monitor than the trout activity in the spawning channel.
Hatches usually occur starting in Mid January and going into February every year!
This morning, I added another video in the “Head Start Planting System” workshop. The Head Start link is at the top of the page, in the main menu. The video covers a bit on how I collect my cuttings. Check it out!
The Stage One pre-grown cuttings are easily handled, if you know how to do it properly. The roots can be touched or removed, but the tops are left untouched. These cuttings are simply pushed into the ground by hand. The soft moist soil, just after the frost is gone, stays wet for some time. This is a good time window to plant in. The advanced growth on the cuttings gives the plant an extended growing season, which increases the chances of survival during that first season in the ground. If the plants are a little more advanced by the late fall, they will have a better shot at surviving the winter months.
You can check out the “Head Start Planting System Workshop”, just click on the main menu (scroll to the top of page) title for Head Start Willow Planting.
Permissions are now in place for the 2021 BVRR&E Program. In February and March, I will begin the collection of cuttings for our growing program and then the plants will be planted later on in the spring. Now that I have published the methodology behind our volunteer planting program, everyone can get involved. This includes the collection and growth of the cuttings, getting them ready for the big plant in the spring. Anyone interested in a similar program can use the ongoing play by play of our riparian planting program, being published thru-out the spring, as a guide.
There are a lot more photos of smaller plants during the first decade of such a planting program, especially if the beavers need to be fed. However, over time, the willows will conquer the terrain and be established enough to take any pressure that beavers can dish out. This includes all of the other pesky rodents that like to damage our plants, for food and nesting material.
What The Damage Looks like
Just to give you an idea of what sort of damage our plants face, I will include a few photos that demonstrate what hazards exist along the streams that we plant on.
You can check out the following page on the “Head Start Planting System”.
As promised, this is the new “Head Start Planting System Manual”, along with the video to make sure you know exactly how to do the job properly. The planting tips will get you off to a great start, it is so simple. You can download the two parts into one easy read for your spring planting plans or just to know another option in riparian restoration.