The saying “Hope Springs Eternal”, the proverb means that “it is human nature to always find cause for optimism”. So the title above can mean this also applies to the new growth on plants that at first looked like they were goners. That is just a passing thought, when you look at the photograph below:
This new growth that appeared a few years later, on the plant shown above, was something that I have seen before on numerous occasions. It is very uplifting to witness a tough little plant that is hanging onto life. After all, the planting site has not seen a healthy riparian zone of willow growth, in many decades. Now there is hope for new generations of willow plants. It is all about resilience!
As long as there is enough moisture and roots to sustain a plant, they may struggle, but eventually they may show signs of survival. It is kind of like life in general, for many of us humans on this planet. This is why it is an important lesson to teach young people how to plant willows and trees. They can see for themselves that our environments are fragile, just like human beings. If we end up with in-fertile soil along our streams, the recovery will be long and difficult for our native plants, like willows and trees.
Unstable Stream Banks Are Now Showing Recovery
I enjoy planting native willows and trees along unstable stream banks, the rewards are so evident after only a few years of growth. When you plant cuttings into exposed soil, there is no immediate competition from other types of plants, for a while anyway! This lack of competition for moisture and nutrient gives the new plantings a great advantage, for that critical first season of growth. Once the plants are established they can flourish with the good start, growing thick over time.
The Winter Emergence Has Begun
I didn’t have time to get down to the creek and check for January emergence, but I did find newly emerged trout later on. Yesterday as a matter of fact! This is fantastic news, once again, and this makes the 10th year that trout eggs have successfully incubated and hatched in the Millennium Creek Spawning Channel. A project that has proven itself over and over. This is uplifting to me every time. Seeing a new generation of tiny trout appear in the harshest weather, mid-winter, is a sight to behold.
The recently hatched brook trout in the photos are living in a microscopic world. That is why they have such large eyes in relationship to their body size. Over time, this will change and they end up like the more familiar looking trout. During their first year, the trout fry live on a diet of Diptera, like the smaller Mosquitoes, Gnats and Midges, along with other small food items. Tiny shrimp are common, and the earlier stages of hatched Mayfly and Caddis fly larva.
After a brook trout egg hatches in the early winter, the trout larva will spent weeks in their gravel beds, so they are quite comfortable at hiding in the gravel and cobble of a stream bed. There are predators about, including large water beetles, dragonfly nymphs and other aquatic predators. Birds like Dippers, Grebes and Mergansers feed on young trout, so there are threats from above as well.