Trout Stream Restoration

   What makes a stream a prime candidate for a trout stream restoration program?

    The following summary is of a few answers to this question that may be relavent:

  •  When a stream historically held a population of trout, but no longer does, due to the impacts of natural or human related impacts.
  •  When no historic documentation confirms that it was once a trout stream, yet there are trout present in other areas of the watershed and it is deemed to have the potential of supporting a resident trout population, after a restoration program is completed.
  • The stream that is considered for restoration is a tributary to a trout bearing stream and it has adequate gradient, acceptable water quality and volume of flow.
  • The stream is populated with a small number of resident trout on only portions of its entire length, due to poor habitat or channel substrate and geometry.

Cause and Effect!

    Before any trout stream restoration plans can be drafted, it is necessary to identify what impacts have contributed to the degradation of the stream’s present condition. If this approach is not followed through with, you may end up with a restoration program that is destine to fail or regress over time.

    Problems such as silt loading, riparian damage, loss of gradient or water quality can be identified and delt with accordingly, prior to any restoration work being initiated. Issues like beaver management, storm drain inflow, agricultural impacts that involve fertilization or nutrient saturation, livestock or prior channization work can all contribute to a trout streams demize!

    I know that issues relating to roadside runoff and silt containment have been greatly improved in my home province in recent years. This is very obvious on all new road and bridge construction projects on and around our transportation system.

Design and Permitting!

    In order to insure that your design for the restoration work program includes structures that will withstand known high flow events, it is necessary to obtain historic flood data or consult with a hydrologist to establish a 1:100 year flood event, either known or predicted. If there are no records of such occurances, an examination of the watershed to estimate maximum run-off possibilities much be determined.

    If your plan is acceptable to the required government agencies responsible for issuing permits, you should have no difficulty in acquiring those necessary permits. This is where a consulting firm with experience in such matters can be helpful. I would like to remind you that these permits and permissions are legally required and no work should be attempted without them!

In-Stream Work and Activities!

    Included in the permitting terms and conditions, you will find that you need to follow the in-stream activities period or time window that allows you to work during specific times of the open water season. These time constrains are designed to protect fish species in the area where the work is to be completed. For example; it there is a fish species that is known or suspected to be spawning in that watershed, at a certain time of year, any disturbance of the water quality could disrupt that activity and possibly kill fish eggs downstream of your work area.

    Also included in the permit guidelines is the necessity to keep any silt caused by your work, at a minimum. This can be accomplished by the use of silt fences, silt trap pools and flow by-pass equipment. The use of these preventitive measures are a very important part of your overall work program!

    With all of these bases covered and if your design and work plan is a good one, you should be successful in your end goals or  objectives!

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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