Bow Valley Riparian Recovery and Enhancement Program Update 2018

August Program Update:

So far this season, we have been lucky enough to get rain when we needed it, throughout the summer months. This year’s plantings are doing very good and I think our survival rates will be good by next springs thaw. With 9,700 plants from 271 volunteer hours, we should be in pretty good shape for the 2019 growing season. Thanks to the partnership support for 2018 and a total of 53 volunteers, it has been a great year!

Our plantings for the “Bow Valley Riparian Recovery and Enhancement Program, over the past 5 years, since we started the program, are now showing up on the landscape. On over 30 kilometres of three local streams that are tributaries to the Bow River, there are new native willow and tree plants growing right along the water’s edge. The plants from the first plantings are now tall enough to be noticeable, from a distance.

This section of West Nose Creek was planted a year earlier, but the plants are too small to be noticeable just yet.

This is the same section of West Nose Creek, three years later. Now you can clearly see the new willow plants growing along the water’s edge. These new plants will provide shade and streambank stability; overhead cover for trout; they will constrict the flow in the channel and keep the streambed cleaner (free of silt) and deeper over time.

This is a closeup of the channel. You can see how the willows that we planted are now starting to create overhead cover along the water’s edge.

On some reaches of West Nose Creek, beavers have already started to build dams on sections that were planted in 2014 and 2015. This is ok with me, because it is all a part of the natural process and beavers have an important role to play in the health of a trout stream. The dammed areas will help in willow and tree development, by creating wetland areas where willows and trees will take root from seed.

These planted willows growing along West Nose Creek’s banks this spring were covered with catkins or flowering seed pods. The broadcasting of seeds from these and other native plants helps riparian restoration in a natural process.

In summary, the entire riparian restoration program is creating an excellent result, which will show vast improvement in the riparian health on many kilometres of stream bank, over time!

About Guy Woods

I am Director of Bow Valley Habitat Development, based in the Town of Cochrane, Alberta, Canada. I love to fly fish and it is this past time that prompted me to get involved in the field of riparian and fish habitat enhancement. I have been working in this pursuit for over 40 years!
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