Stream Tender Magazine

November 2012

Riparian and Fish Habitat Enhancement   Fisheries Management    Bio-Engineering   Stream Reclamation and Restoration    Bank Erosion and Sediment Control    Water

Cochrane Community Grant Program

For The Complete

Millennium Creek Story

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Above:  A mature brook trout swims over spawning

gravel, as it enters the recently constructed spawning channel that was built on Millennium Creek in 2010.

If you would like to check out past issues of this magazine —Click Here


“Banner Year for Trout Recruitment on Millennium Creek!”

    This year’s brook trout hatch, on Millennium Creek’s recently constructed spawning channel, was the best yet! On  my many trips down to visit the stream, I have observed plenty of new YOY (young of the year) brook trout, darting about, as I walked the stream banks of the creek.

    It was quite evident that there were more trout fry in the stream channel than there has been on previous years, when I have also closely observed the system!

    Early in the season, primarily in late June and into the first weeks of July, I witnessed these small trout start to migrate downstream of the spring pond, into the habitats on the upper reaches of the creek. One thing that was very apparent to me during this time frame, and this was the rapid growth of these small trout, during their first months of growth!

    I was fortunate enough to have been able to witness and video the emergence of the newly hatch trout, from the spawning beds, in late winter months of 2012! If you are interested in sharing this experience, please check out the video link.

    This new generation of brook trout will provide great recreation for area anglers! The new trout will reside in Bighill Creek and the Bow River!

    Later on in the fall of this year, I started to watch mature brook trout move up the system to start their spawning ritual, starting in the first week of October. So far, as I write this article, there is a total of 21 brook trout redds (egg nests) on Millennium Creek, and more yet to be counted over the next week or so!

    This is the third spawning event on the new spawning channel, which was constructed in 2010! The project was funded by Inter Pipeline and constructed by BVHD!

Brook Trout Fry, Emerging from the Spawning Gravel!

Inter Pipeline Partners in Fall Willow and Tree Planting on Bighill Creek!

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    Inter Pipeline has partnered with Bow Valley Habitat Development for a two year willow and tree planting program on Bighill Creek. The plantings will involve a fall planting in 2012 that has now been completed, and a spring and  early summer planting in 2013.

    The programs objective will see the planting of a total of over 2000 native willow and tree plants along the stream banks of Bighill Creek, over areas that are now void of willow and tree cover.

    This fall, the first phase of the program was completed, with a total of 1,080 willow and tree plants being planted, over an area of stream bank that covered approximately 900 metres.

    The plants were stage one, pre-rooted cuttings, with advanced root development, to insure a better survival rate when planted into the stream’s high clay content soil conditions.

    A large percentage of the plants were planted on eroding stream banks, where annual erosion from high stream flows results in major silt loading into the stream channel on the creek.

The willow plants consist of cuttings collected from 5 different varieties of Salix willow, 2 varieties of dogwood and Western Water Birch.

    The trees are from cuttings collected from indigenous balsam and aspen poplar  trees. The advantage of both poplars is that they are known to sucker new shoots from a common root network.

    This suckering from poplar trees results in multiple trees developing from those single tree cuttings that were planted! It is a great way to get the “biggest bang for your buck”, when you are conducting a riparian planting program!

    For more information on this topic, go to the title: “ Many Trees From One”. The link is also on the lower left hand corner of this web page!

    I have been closely monitoring the cuttings from the fall planting program, and I was amazed at how late into the fall that these plants were producing new leaf growth, from the developing buds.

    The cuttings were producing new leaves right up until the first taste of winter, on October 22nd! Check out the photo to right, which was taken on October 18th. It shows one of the fall plantings.

    These willows will be off to a good start this next spring, as soon as the ice and frost leaves the stream banks!

Above: This is a photo of one of the willow plants that were planted this fall along Bighill Creek. The photo was taken on October 18th, two days before the snow and freezing weather. The plants are now in a dormant state, until next spring!

Spawning Survey Completed on Bighill Creek This Fall!

    Spawning activity of both brook trout and brown trout on Bighill Creek has been closely monitored over the past 3 years, by Bow Valley Habitat Development. On each of those years, trout have been observed laying their eggs in known spawning habitats.

    Since the completion of the 2009 fisheries study and the first documented spawning survey of the lower reach of the creek,  egg laying trout have continued to spawn  annually, on the reach of creek that flows thru the Town of Cochrane.

    Depending on the water quality conditions, while the eggs are incubating, there is usually a limited hatch of new trout into the system. Bighill Creek’s stream channel is well known for its very high silt content!

    The results of this year’s spawning survey on the lower creek are:

(Egg Nests)


19—Brown trout redds


26—Brook trout redds


    Although the number of redds or egg nest is relatively low this year, the success of recruitment will depend on the water quality during the incubation period.

    It is my hope that we will see enough new trout hatch that there will be a surviving population for future spawning events!

Above:    A few rather nice sized brook trout are captured by a camera, during their annual spawning event on Bighill Creek.

Nose Creek 2012 Willow Planting Update

    Nose Creek and West Nose Creek are typical examples of many of our prairie streams that have suffered from the lose of riparian habitat. The Nose Creek Watershed Partnership has taken measures over recent years to remediate this problem.

    This year saw the planting of approximately 1,500 willow plants along the banks of both Nose Creek in Airdrie and West Nose Creek in Northwest Calgary. Both of these planting programs were carried out in the spring of this year.

    Corporate volunteer groups from Microsoft, CP and Stantec all chipped in to get the job done, and the results are very promising so far. A large number of the willow plants have survived the initial shock of transplanting and made it thru to the late fall dormancy period.

    Bow Valley Habitat Development will continue to monitor the sites and provide ongoing updates!

Bighill Creek 2012 Willow and Tree Planting Update

    As part of the Bighill Creek Project, Riparian Recovery and Enhancement Program, over 3000 willow and tree plants were planted along the stream bank on Bighill Creek this year! The planting area encompassed approximately 1,100 metres of stream channel along the Bighill Creek, in the Town of Cochrane.

    The plants consisted of native willow and poplar tree cuttings that were pre-rooted and planted in a state of advanced growth. The plant crop was a mix of Stage one and two medium size cuttings, with a number of large diameter Stage Two plants included.

    Bow Valley Habitat Development partnered with the Cochrane Foundation, the Town of Cochrane and Inter Pipeline to complete the task. The entire crop has been monitored by BVHD over the summer and into the fall, and the plants are doing very well so far!


A large diameter Stage Two willow plant, at the end of the growing season.

Streamtender.com Celebrates Over 20,000 Page Requests!

The Publisher is pleased to report that as of mid– October of 2012, Streamtender.com has received over 20,000 page requests, with a monthly average of over 1,000 hits!

I am very happy that there are so many other people that share the same interest in the topics that we write about and publish!