Broken Ice

The lower reach of the Bighill Creek has sections that rarely freeze, if the flow in the channel is large enough in volume. Some storm drain inflows from urban areas, have spring water also flowing in them. This adds warmer water into the creek and helps keep it free of ice in the winter. One such storm drain inflow is located close to the Lions rodeo grounds, and the baseball diamond. It adds a bit of warmer water, but the main influence is downstream. Downstream of this inflow, the channel is often open in the winter, mainly because there are ground water springs coming out of the ground, in the stream channel.

Just a few days ago, I took this photo of an area further downstream of the ground water springs, the ones that come out of the ground, in the stream channel.
This area of the creek didn’t freeze up that much this winter. There was good flow this winter.

Winter Willows

Recently, I was inspecting some planted sites along Bighill Creek, Bow Valley Habitat Development, Partners and Volunteers, planted at this site, over a number of years ago. We are also continuing to plant at these sites. The willow crop is looking great and I even noticed a birds nest in one of our plants.

You can see a small song birds’ nest, covered in snow, near the bottom of the photo. It is overhanging the creek. These are all planted willows, mostly from 2014, 15 and 16. The smaller plants from 2017 and on, are too small to show up in the photo.
This is a better shot of the area, with the willows in the foreground. These plants are really helping to hold the stream banks together. This planting has increased the habitat, substantially!
These willows caught some floating debris, during a flood this past year. The debris will decay and enrich the soil along the creek. This will help promote new growth and a healthier riparian zone.
In this cluster of plantings, you can see a small poplar tree in the mix. It is a balsam poplar. Their is a twig of red osier dogwood on the bottom, right hand corner, of this photo.
The glint of light on the frozen water, on top of the ice, caught my eye. Simple glimpses of beauty can be found, if the light is just right.

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