Planted Stream Bank Stabilization Sites 2018

Native Willows Take Hold

It is nice to have some old photos showing what some eroding stream banks looked like, before we planted them with native willows and trees. Fortunately, years later, you can take new photos of the same stream banks and use them in before and after sequence. This will accurately show the results of our efforts to stabilize these eroding stream banks. I have also taken video of some sites to be used later on, when we can demonstrate a full effect on video.

Above: This  eroding stream bank was planted with native willows the year before. You can see how sections of the stream banks sod are falling into the stream channel and this results in huge amounts of soil and clay smothering the streambed annually.

Above: This photo shows the same site four years later. The native willows have stabilized the eroding stream bank and this has halted silt loading into the stream channel. I have witnessed the streambed downstream cleaning, slowly, over the years. Areas that were once covered in silt and mud are now showing cobble and gravel beds.

The “Bow Valley Riparian Recovery and Enhancement Program” is producing results over many kilometres of stream bank in our area of the watershed. This will insure that cleaner water enters the Bow River annually. Not to mention the improved fish and wildlife habitat that we have helped in creating. And it all looks natural in appearance!

Over the next few months, Bow Valley Habitat Development will start to organize another planting season for 2019. Next year’s planting program will mark the sixth year since this particular riparian restoration program was initiated.

Another Smoke Filled Day!

This morning the sky is filled with smoke and it is dark like dusk at 9:00 AM in the morning. It feels like the world is burning these days. We need some rain out in BC and around these parts as well. The creeks are flowing really low lately and the trout are deep into the cover, where they will stay until the flow increases. This must be a major disappointment to those that planned holidays this month.

Lately, I have been conducting some stream maintenance, removing some blockages and garbage from the stream channel on a few project streams. I like to do this in the late summer, before the instream activity period closes for such cleanup work. We have a few key spawning streams in our area and a little help in keeping the stream channel open for trout migration, helps significantly. The Jumpingpound Creek is a great example.

A few years ago, a few locals started to open up the rock dams that were being constructed on the lower end of the creek, near the mouth of the JP, on the Bow River. This allowed the rainbow trout to have clear passage up the system in the following spring migration. Not much work was required, just removing a few boulders or large rocks in the middle of the rock dams did the job.

Above: Rock dams built by individuals during the summer months, block trout migrations during their spawning runs. A small opening in the middle of the dam will allow trout to move upstream to reproduce.

I have mentioned in the magazine or on this blog that we have seen two successful spawning events over the last two seasons, so I suspect that local volunteers have helped in this success, just by taking the time to open up a few rock dams. Well done!

 

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 30 years!
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