Red Deer River Naturalists

The Red Deer river Naturalists are a group dedicated to learning about and preserving natural history. They have regular programs with speakers and many field trips.

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Saturday, June 4, 2011

Fish Spawning in Piper Creek

         For 41 years I have lived less than a kilometer from Piper Creek. Piper Creek flows from drainage south east of Red Deer. Much of this land is agricultural and has cattle pastured along the unarable land beside the creek. Where I live the creek flows through a heavily wooded coulee. The water in Piper Creek is not high quality as agricultural run off and city runoff enters the creek at various places.

       Nevertheless, I have spent some time watching for evidence of fish in the creek. I know that historically fish spawned in this creek. There were no beaver dams to block swimming upstream until recent times. About 25 years ago a kid told me that he caught a jack fish in the creek in the Bower Woods area opposite Sunnybrook.

       This year I hit pay dirt. I spent a few minutes watching for fish on May 16. . I saw a sucker swim by. I was disappointed that I only saw one fish as they usually are in  fairly large groups. A few minutes later I saw four fish that I could not identify. They were not suckers or jack fish. These four fish were from 7- 11in long and were narrow in width. They swam by very quickly so I only had a brief glimpse of them. Someone else had reported seeing fish in this same area and reported their sighting to the Kerry Wood Nature Center.

      The location in the creek where I saw the fish is important as these fish have come up the river escarpment so they have not only swum upstream but have gained altitude.

     I was happy to see the fish as I was rewarded for looking for so many years. It is important to report these sightings as it confirms the creek to be a body of water for fish and thus fall under specific regulations and these can be used when  development threatens the creek as a proposed road crossing.

      I would be interested in hearing from others who have seen fish in Piper Creek.

2 comments:

  1. It's really interesting to me that reporting wildlife sightings can help protect their habitat.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Scot, great to have you visit Natural Wise. I'll put an asterisk on the wall, here for you being a first time commenter. Federal laws have special regulations for water with fish in it. People had better not mess with streams that have fish.

    ReplyDelete