You know when you are hiking a trail of packed earth, through a forest, and suddenly you hear the trickle of a babbling brook? That’s what I get excited about. These streams that seem to effortlessly find their way through the forest, cascading over boulders and creating crystal clear pools. It strikes me that the gentle force of water will always find a way to flow. The beauty of the soft sound of water makes me stop and appreciate the ecosystem that it supports.
Streams are not only a beautiful force of nature, but provide so many functions to the ecosystem. You will be amazed at how much life there is in a stream. Kick some gravel and there are hundreds of bugs in a few square centimetres. If you ever get a chance to go on an electro-fish survey, I highly recommend it. The amount of fish hiding out of site in a stream will floor you. Coldwater streams are particularly interesting. The temperature usually results from direct contact with the water table. At the headwaters, cumulative impacts to the water quality are minimal. As you move downstream in the watershed, these cumulative impacts increase. Coldwater streams are clear, well oxygenated and cleaner. Perfect conditions for top predators like Brook Trout!
Many of these cold streams are warming up due to land use changes or historical degradation. It is almost impossible to create a new coldwater stream. Protecting and rehabilitating coldwater streams is very important, especially in Southern Ontario. Stream rehabilitation does not always need engineers, water physicists and government staff. At Trout Unlimited Canada (TUC), volunteer community groups and biologists work together to improve stream health all across Ontario. There are six chapters in Ontario that care for the streams in the watersheds they live in.
If you are interested in streams, want to educate yourself about stream rehabilitation or join a local working group; TUC is a great place to start. TUC is offering affordable workshops on Stream Rehabilitation Training in September 2018. Join a local chapter and participate in a work day to get some hands on experience. If you love the water but don’t have the time you can still support our work by becoming a member or donating.
One of our upcoming planned events:
*Check TUC Chapter Facebook events for more details on time and location
Laura is an Aquatic Biologist who spends her time coordinating stream restoration projects at Trout Unlimited Canada.
Blogs are written by ELB members who want to share their stories about Ontario's biodiversity.