The 2017 program is starting to take shape, with good partnership support so far. This could be another banner year for the riparian planting program. By the end of March, I should have a pretty good idea of the scope of this year’s program. So far, there is enough support to plant approximately 5,000 native willow and tree plants, with more to come.
Earlier on in January, I visited some of the planting sites from the last three years. The stream bank stabilization sites look particularly great, because the density of plants and the white snow shows off the native willow and tree plants. The photo below gives you an idea of what I am talking about. This is one of 58 stream bank stabilization sites on the Bighill Creek, in the Town of Cochrane.
The winter ice on the creek has been elevated by a few feet, so you can only see the tops of the native plants that were planted over the past few years. This was an especially bank eroding stream bank on the creek, so stabilization will help prevent many tonnes of silt from entering the stream in the future.
Whirling Disease in our Reach of the Bow River
Late in 2016, a total of 5 positive sample results were documented on our reach of the Bow River, between the Ghost Dam and Bearspaw Dam. One of the samples was found in the Jumpingpound Creek, just upstream of the confluence. This could be a disaster for the rainbow trout that reproduce in the JP Creek. Only time will tell how the impacts of this invasive disease will damage our trout fishery. In 2016, a total of 41 positive samples were found on the entire Bow River, from its upper reach, downstream to near Bassano, Alberta.
Some river systems in the USA that have the disease present in their trout waters have not be impacted as severely as other river systems. No doubt environmental conditions may play a role in this. For the time being, the only thing that we can do as anglers, is too help prevent the spread of the disease. The most obvious measure to take, is too make sure that you wash all of your wading equipment and nets off after any outing. Pontoon boats, float tubes and other boating equipment should also be thoroughly cleaned between trips to the water.