Stream Tender Magazine

November 2012

The Bighill Creek Project

    The objective of the Bighill Creek Project covers a variety of goals, some of which have already been partially completed. Those objectives are as follows:

·                 To complete a comprehensive fisheries study on the lower reach of Bighill Creek. (Completed)

·                 To collect baseline data on the water chemistry of ground fed springs that feed the Bighill Creek in the Town of Cochrane. (Completed)

·                 To restore and enhance the habitat of small feeder springs that juvenile trout inhabit. (Partially Completed)

·                 To work towards the recovery and enhancement of riparian habitat along the stream banks of the Bighill Creek. (A work in Progress)

·                 To stabilize eroding stream banks along the stream channel. (A work in Progress)

·                 To enhance spawning habitats and fish habitats where necessary and beneficial to trout. (A work in Progress)

·                 To work towards improving the water quality in the BHC.

·                 To raise public awareness about the importance of the BHC to the fishery and also to native wildlife that inhabit the environment along the stream. (A work in Progress)

·                 To educate the public about the environment and ecology of streams such as the Bighill Creek and its tributaries. (A work in Progress)

 

    “Measures to reach these objectives or goals will be covered in future issues of Stream Tender Magazine!”

Project Mission Statement

    Historically, the Bighill Creek was locally known as a sport fishery, with a variety of different trout species inhabiting its waters. With an increase in the annual volume of flows in the creek, the trout fishery is in recovery. Both brown trout and brook trout are now present in the lower reach of the BHC, with even a few rainbow trout in the lower stretches of the stream.

    It is Bow Valley Habitat Development’s mission to take measures that will facilitate the recovery of this  Bighill Creek fishery, including advocacy and education to insure the protection of the BHC into future years!

The photos on the top of this page show perfectly healthy habitats located along the Bighill Creek, I used them to show you what the entire stream should look like!

Below:  A bank stabilization site:

There are a number of stream bank erosion sites along the Bighill Creek channel that require measures to stabilize them, utilizing advanced bio-engineering methodology. By using willow and tree planting techniques, these banks can be stabilized over time and the amount of silt loading in the stream can be reduced significantly!

Above: A spawning site on the Bighill Creek:

If you look carefully at this photo, you will see spawning brown trout, over a clean gravel substrate! You will also notice good willow cover overhanging the stream channel, which provides good cover for the spawning event. Presently, the willow and tree planting on the Bighill Creek includes planting along known spawning habitats. The healthy riparian growth of willows and trees will contribute to the collection of suitable spawning gravel, in areas where the woody debris and branches of these plants makes contact with the flowing water in the channel! The constriction of flow also enhances the stream channels velocity and depth to create ideal conditions for spawning trout!

Below: One of a number of small feeder spring channels that feed the Bighill Creek:

These small feeder spring creeks are vital to the main-stem fishery of the Bighill Creek! They provide juvenile trout habitat during key times of the year and in some cases, a spawning habitat for trout that occupy the BHC. Measures to protect and enhance these small spring creeks have already taken place, as part of the Bighill Creek Project. A good example of this is both Ranch House Spring Creek and Millennium Creek Projects!

This magazine and website is published and maintained by Guy Woods. All photos and illustrations are copyright 2012.

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