On Friday April 10 the Boundary Environmental Alliance had a public info session with Biologist Mike Pearson who specializes in Aquatic and Riparian habitats.
Earlier in the day he was toured through some of the sensitive riparian zones in our area. Places like Lost Lake and the Gilpin. A number of people tagged along, amongst them local media and politicians.
The Riparian area is the space of land adjacent to the water. Around Lost Lake it is supposed to be fenced off but when we were there the fence on one side was in the water, not some distance from it as it should be.
Proper fish habitat goes hand in hand with the riparian zone. Good riparian zone promotes good fish habitat and poor riparian zone does the opposite. One of the questions the organizers had for Dr. Pearson was could the Gilpin Creek be a fish habitat? Could it support Cut Throat Trout? Could they make up from the river and through the culverts?
Dr. Pearson wondered if there might not already be some there. He advised any effort to begin with a count to see. A stretch above the highway has been fenced off and there are saplings that have been planted. But he pointed to the relatively straight run and remarked that for small fish it provided no shade, no variation in flow, no pools or resting spots. He said this was typical of a a stream in an area where the trees have been gone for a while. One suggestion to help improve aquatic fish habitat was to drop some lumber into the stream as would naturally happen. This would force the water to run under, over and around and that would sculpt out a shady pool of quieter water which fish like. Slower water means the fish aren’t spending as much energy staying in one place or going upstream.
Listen to what he has to say on the subjects of Riparian areas and Aquatic fish habitat.