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 Stream Tender Magazine

                                                                                                                                     Stream Tender Journal

             Introduction:

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!

If you would like to contact the author, Guy Woods, please use the email on the right sidebar > Scroll Up. If you would like to access any of the seven volumes of Stream Tender Magazine, click on the links below:

Volume One

Volume Two

Volume Three

Volume Four

Volume Five

Volume Six

Volume Seven

A New Article On Ranch House Spring Creek

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.

Willow Plants Growing Along The Bighill Creek

Our planted willows, now growing along the stream banks of the Bighill Creek. The result of a successful riparian planting program.

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:

  1. West Nose Creek — 42,441 native willows and trees.
  2. Bighill Creek ———-12,747 native willows and trees.
  3. Nose Creek ———–16,655 native willows and trees.
  4. Millennium Creek —– 100 native willows.
  5. 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.

New Hatch Soon

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.

This Millennium Creek brook trout fry has just emerged from the gravel spawning beds in the creek and is now learning how to eat and survive in the big water. Note the funny looking tail on this small trout, it is rounded and has an adipose membrane that actually grows right up to the adipose fin, top and bottom. The head is also unusually large, in comparison to the body. This tiny trout will soon fatten up.

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!

I took this photo of a water strider with a Mayfly for a meal, a few summers ago, and felt that now is a good time to share it with you. The recent video of juvenile trout and water striders on the lower reach of the Millennium Creek made me think of this photo that I had also taken of water striders.
This stickleback minnow is being hunted by a dragon fly nymph, hiding behind the green aquatic plant shown. Dragon fly nymphs are voracious predators that will eat just about anything that they can grasp onto.

Spring and Summer Photos

These planted native willows, growing right along the edge of the stream bank, are true survivors. They have survived floods and rodents. The willows planted along both sides of the stream are off to a good start and if you use your imagination, you can envision what the stream will look like in the future. The resident trout in this creek will utilize the new habitat created by our riparian planting program.
These batches of willow rooting mediums are growing in different stages, to insure an extended planting season. This photo was taken in April, before the frost has left the ground. The plants already have roots and top development. New buds are also forming, due to the growing process method. These will be planted as Stage One class, pre-grown cuttings.
This photo of Stage One plants being readied for planting, was taken in May, just after the frost has come out of the ground along the stream. The plants are pulled out of the rolled rooting medium from the outside in, on the rolls. The plants are transported along the creek by using buckets with garbage bags to cover the roots with. On a cool morning the plants will stay shock free for an extended period of time. Just keep them in the dark and reduce the air circulation on the roots. I do all of my planting in the early morning hours. Volunteer groups are sometimes only active in the late morning hours, so on warm days, the plants exposure needs to be reduced. Watering the rolls in the pails, as soon as you get to site, is recommended.

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.

Bow Valley Riparian Recovery and Enhancement Program 2021

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.

These willows shown growing along the edge of the stream, were all planted as part of the BVRR&E Program. The new cover will provide many of the basic needs of a healthy riparian zone, in time. The growth of our plants does take time and the beavers will keep some of them cropped down pretty good, on a few of the creeks in the planting program. Nose Creek, West Nose Creek and the Bighill Creek have all been heavily planted as part of this riparian recovery program.

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.

A flood covered this pre-rooted willow cutting that we planted, leaving grass that had been washed down the torrent and wrapped around our plants. The plant is minus a few limbs from grazing rodents, but new growth is showing on the shaft. In the winter, when snow covered the ground, the voles or mice stripped bark off of the top part of the cutting shaft. This is a common occurrence, the small rodents use the bark for food and nesting material.
Rodents have stripped the bark off of this planted cutting, but the plant struggles on to survive.
You can see the original top of the planted cutting on the lower right hand side of the base of this plant. The beaver has bitten off the shaft of a the main limb that grew off of the cutting, but despite this, the plant is producing new blooming buds new the top. Se the photo below for a photo weeks later.
This is the same willow plant, weeks later.
The plants do well in certain areas of the creeks, despite the beaver population. Here, we see the planted willows are growing good on both sides of the stream bank.

You can check out the following page on the “Head Start Planting System”.

New Riparian Planting System Revealed

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.

The “Head Start Willow Planting” title on the main menu, at the top of the page, is a permanent link for viewing both the manual and video. Remember this and you will always have easy access to both.