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Stream Tender Magazine

March 2015 Issue

Fifth Trout Hatch on Millennium Creek Spawning Channel

Above: A pair of newly hatched trout on Millennium Creek seek the cover of gravel habitat to spend the first days of their lives, just after emerging from the spawning beds in the constructed channel.

First Crop of Willows on Millennium Creek are Ready to Contribute!

    It has been eight years since the first plantings of willows were done on the Millennium Creek, here in the Town of Cochrane, Alberta. A total of just over 400 native plants were planted along the water’s edge in 2007, as a part of the stream restoration program.

    The plants are now mature enough to be harvested for cuttings, which will be used in future plantings along both Millennium Creek and Bighill Creek, for the Bow Valley Riparian Recovery and Enhancement Program.

    This harvesting of small diameter cuttings will not harm the mother plants, as a matter of fact this collection of cuttings will enhance the growth of the donor plant. In the future, the mother plants will become more bushy and thick with limb cover for the stream.

    The root systems from the eight year old plants has already created a dense mass of root growth, helping to stabilize the stream banks. During the growing season, the cover of branches and leaf growth provides excellent overhead cover for the stream’s resident trout population.

    The plantings occurred two years after the new stream channel had been excavated on Millennium Creek. The new channel was allowed to rest for a few years, before the planting of willows was completed. The moist environment along the creek was perfect for the growth of the willows.

    It has been a real pleasure to observe the growth of the plants over the past number of years along the creek.

 

Above: This 2015 photo shows the first willow crop that was planted on the creek.

2015 Should be Another Great Year for Volunteer Support!

    In recent years, the volunteer support for all riparian planting programs has been an important ingredient in the success of the overall program.

    To date, hundreds of volunteers have contributed some of their valuable time towards getting some willows and trees in the ground.

    Volunteers of all ages have enjoyed participating in something that will benefit the environment and all of the fish and wildlife that also gain important habitat from the planting programs.

    As of February 2015, Bow Valley Habitat Development has already secured commitments from two different groups, to partake in the 2015 Bow Valley Riparian Planting Program.

Above: Volunteers from the local “Branches and Banks Org.”, plant willow cuttings on Bighill Creek.

Brown Trout — Now Spawning on Millennium Creek !

    I suspected that it was just a matter of time before brown trout would spawn on Millennium Creek. Presently, up until this last fall, only brook trout had been observed spawning on the creek.

    However, on two occasions, during the brook trout spawning period, brown trout have been observed holding in the spawning channel inflow. Including this past fall.

    So when I saw a very large trout redd in the spawning channel this winter, I knew that only brown trout could have created such a large egg nest or redd.

Above: Both brown trout that have been seen on the spawning channel were about the same size as the one pictured above. These large powerful trout can create a rather large egg nest.

    So far, there are seven partners committed to supporting the 2015 Bow Valley Riparian Recovery and Enhancement Program. This is a great early start and  Bow Valley Habitat Development looks forward to more partners by the spring of this year.

Ranch House Spring Creek is Back to Normal!

    This past year, a dewatering of the nearby Cochrane Lake resulted in a high volume of unwanted water being pumped into Ranch House Spring Creek. This resulted in the loss of a spawning on the stream.

    Fortunately, this issue has been resolved and the pumping into the creek is now over. This means that we can look forward to things getting back to normal on the stream. This normality will include the fall spawn.

    In 2013, there was a total of 16 brook trout redds mapped on the creek and this past fall of 2014, there were none. The high volume of dirty water destroyed the typically ideal spawning conditions on the creek.

    I will be monitoring the spawning activity this fall and let you know in a future issue of this magazine, how things develop. It is expected that the brook trout will return to spawn when the creek is back to a healthy state.

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Above: In this photo a female brook trout attempts to fan an egg nest (Redd) with her tail. The colourful male swims close to her, ready to fertilize the eggs when they are deposited in the nest of clean gravel.

Bighill Creek is Now a Major Spawning Tributary to the Bow!

    Once the spawning of both brook trout and brown trout was documented on the Bighill Creek, the first evidence of the stream’s importance to the local fishery was established.

    Along with the spawning in the main stem of BHC, we  now know that three of the creek’s main tributaries are also utilized by spawning trout.

    This adds a considerable amount of significance to the Bighill Creek’s contribution to the fishery, including benefits to the sport fishing on the Bow River .

    Spawning activity on the Bighill Creek and the three tributaries has now been documented and hopefully these waters and the trout spawning will be protected into the future.

   

In This Issue:

“Above are the Partners so far for the 2015 Program”