Cold September – Pretty Fall Vistas

Cold With Lots of Moisture For Our Local Trout Streams

Someone told me that if you get a lot of rain and snow in the fall, the streams will flow good in the following open water season. I guess this means that charging up the water table before freeze up is good for our local trout streams. So far this September, we have had a good amount of rain and snow, with the possibility of more yet to come.

The cold weather, with some freezing during the nights, has turned the leaves to their fall colors and it is beautiful along some local trout streams. With plenty of color along the Bighill Creek in Cochrane, I have been enjoying some walks along the path system. The added color along the stream banks makes for some good photos.

This early morning shot of Bighill Creek shows the beauty of fall colors along the stream.

We may get lucky and experience an “Indian Summer” in October, before the big freeze this fall. If it is a cold winter, that just means that I will probably tie more trout flies than I normally do.

Anticipation of A Great Riparian Planting Season In 2019

I am already getting excited about this next year’s riparian planting program, for the “Bow Valley Riparian Recovery and Enhancement Program”. With a little bit of luck, we will end up planting close to 10,000 native willow and tree plants this next spring. The 2019 season will mark the sixth year for the riparian enhancement program.

If we get as much snow as we did last winter, there will be plenty of moisture in the ground for next year’s crop. The moisture makes it easier to plant and it helps get the new plants off to a great start. When the native willows and trees are planted in the early spring, they have already been growing for some time, prior to when the frost comes out of the ground.

I have already been in touch with some of the volunteers from this springs planting, and they are ready to chip in again this next year. The CW Perry Middle School is interested in adding more education into their planting event, so we will be doing a brief study on aquatic invertebrates that live in Nose Creek, in the City of Airdrie. This should add some fun into the student’s outing and hopefully help the kids recognize the importance of the stream’s ecosystem and bio-diversity.

This last spring, we took a number of breaks in our planting event, with CW Perry, to examine some insect that were captured by the kids along the stream bank. Having some proper dip nets and screens will make our study a little more organized this next spring. For some reason, kids love creepy crawly things pulled from the water.

This Gammarus shrimp is one of the creatures found in fresh water streams in our area

Eroding Stream Banks That Are Now Stabilizing

Native willows that were planted on eroding stream banks in 2014, are now stabilizing the banks, allowing grasses to grow mixed in with the willows. The Bighill Creek is now flowing a lot cleaner as a result of the reduction of clay and soil that once entered the stream channel. The creek appears to be a lot healthier, with more gravel and cobble showing on the streambed. This is good for the resident trout population in the creek.

This band of growth along the water’s edge is preventing loose soil and clay from entering the stream channel.

The more native willows and trees that we plant along some local trout streams, the better the long term benefits for a healthy riparian ecosystem.

 

 

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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