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Flooding on Southern Alberta Rivers


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Due to flooding in Southern Alberta, fisheries biologists’ are saying that new spawn for rainbows as well as browns are now lost on the Bow. There is also a very good chance that 1/2 yearlings did not survive as well. A few fish less in the future. On the pro side of things the river has regenerated itself naturally so the fishery should be enhanced for the future.

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My bald-assed-guess was 3 years for things to return to normal - I suppose we'll have to see how much silt got left behind in the breeding areas.


My fingers are crossed. Based on the pictures - I'm not helping clear logjams on the Bow - Stauffer is hard enough...



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CALGARY (CP) - Alberta's devastating spring floods have wiped out much of the trout in the world-renowned Bow River and biologists suggest the fishing outlook is probably crippled for this year. But they also say flooding is nature's way of regenerating river habitat and that will be good news in the long run.


"The fish that spawned this year are likely washed out," said Brian Meagher, a biologist with Trout Unlimited, who surveyed the disaster from the air Wednesday.


"As well, all of the small fish that were born last year are probably either in severe trouble or they're done - that's the problem for this year," said Meagher.


"But in the long-term, it's a good thing because it's going to clear up the river system. It will clear out a lot of the weeds in the river, clear out a lot of debris and expose new spawning grounds for the future."


Two weeks of heavy rain and widespread flooding has left many parts of southern and central Alberta looking like disaster zones. Coursing water has washed out bridges and roads, cut new pathways for many rivers and creeks and left a new footprint for many properties.


Extensive damage to Fish Creek Provincial Park, Canada's largest urban park, will take years for the vegetation to recover. But manager Jim Stomp says the park's landscape will never look the same, noting that 40 per cent of the 110 kilometres of pathways have been wiped out. Another 25 per cent require major repairs.


"A lot of the (pedestrian) bridges were totally removed, the abutments are gone and the banks they were sitting on are no longer there," said Stomp. "And the banks, in some cases, are perhaps 40 feet wider than they were before."


Each year, between 2.5 and 3 million people visit Fish Creek, a vast swath of forested area at Calgary's deep southern tip.


There are some positive environmental aspects to the flooding.


Biologist Vivian Pharis of the Alberta Wilderness Association said the rush of water will help the riverbottom cottonwood forests in southern Alberta, which require flooding to promote growth.


"The cottonwood forests are going to be happier-maybe we'll see some resprouting and new growth there," said Pharis.


In and around the Oldman River basin, near Lethbridge and Pincher Creek, the cottonwoods are the main forest in the riverbed and supply habitat for a variety of birds, snakes and a range of other wildlife.


Damming along the Oldman River has reduced flooding in recent years and the trees have been struggling for survival, says Pharis.

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Floods and Fish – Short-Term Loss, Long-Term Gain

Fish Rescue Hotline Running to Report Fish Left Stranded by Flood Waters


Calgary, June 22, 2005 - Now that flood waters have begun to recede across Alberta, Trout Unlimited Canada (TUC) is turning its attention to the implications for the fish populations of the flooded rivers.


“Although the images we have seen lately show the power of water to reshape our daily lives, there are long-term benefits for their river and the fish species that live within it” said Brian Meagher, TUC’s Alberta Biologist. “Natural flood events such as this have the effect of flushing out materials from the river systems, such as litter and weeds.”


Meagher noted that for fish species, the flooding is both good and bad. “For species that spawn in the spring, such as rainbow and cutthroat trout, habitat has obviously been severely disrupted by this event. Additionally, the insect populations that these trout rely upon for food will be impacted. This will have a significant impact to the numbers of these fish we see in the short term, as both the eggs and fry have likely not survived. However, fall spawners such as brown trout should have great recruitment. Once the waters clear up, the number of spawning locations available will actually increase. With improved reproduction and less competition, we could expect to see increased survival and growth of those fish that make it through.”


Garth Soby, President of TUC’s Bow River Chapter in Calgary, also sees both the good and bad in this year’s flooding. “Although access points to the Bow, including our Chapter’s lease on Legacy Island, has been severely damaged, we shall soon see how a river system has the ability to regenerate and thrive when it is left to its natural devices. What we recommend to our members, as well as all anglers across Alberta, is to practice safe catch-and-release fishing on all watersheds that have been affected by the flooding, until researchers can determine the extent of the effect on our fish populations.”


Brian Meagher also noted that the TUC office has been receiving calls from Albertans discovering fish in locations where they are not normally found. “We’re hearing that fish are being found in ponds and puddles at a distance from their home rivers. If you find this type of situation, please call TUC’s Fish Rescue Hotline at 1-866-374-5455 and our staff will advise on the best course of action.”


About Trout Unlimited Canada

Trout Unlimited Canada (TUC) is a not-for-profit conservation and educational organization. Founded in 1972, TUC’s focus is on volunteer-driven, member-based resource conservation. TUC Chapter members volunteer their time and effort to preserve coldwater habitat within local watersheds. TUC's national office is in Calgary, Alberta.


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Brian Meagher, TUC Alberta Biologist

403-209-5185, bmeagher@tucanada.org, www.tucanada.org


Michael Monita, Director of Marketing and Communications

403-209-5180, monita@tucanada.org, www.tucanada.org

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So, after all is said and done, and after the Bow has redeeded to its normal level, does anyone have an idea what the fishing will be like for the remainder of the year? What do they figure has happened to the larger fish? and how for up the Bow was it affected to the scale it was farther down stream? Were the head waters affected just as severely?


Is there even an estimated percentage on the numbers of fish that will survive? I would imagine that the larger fish would have tried to find less turbulent waters to reside in while the waters were at these extreme levels. Therefor how any fish will be lost due to being trapped when the water receeds? and even so, how many of these trapped fish will actually be saved before predators or humans capture them,

I imagine some of them will become easy prey.


It is very unfortunate that this kind of disaster happens but I guess thats the way it goes.


Now, heres a thought. How much less impact do you think there would have been if there was less human intervention with the environment. (ex. farming, logging, ect) Or, do you think that this would have had the same result if there was no human effect on the environment?



Just a my thoughts anyway? Does any of this make sense? or am I out to lunch? :unsure:

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