Researchers hope for trout nest comeback in Calgary river
A group of more than two-dozen people boarded boats and floated down Calgary’s Elbow River on Friday during an ecological search effort to count the number of brown trout spawning nests in the water.
The annual count is sponsored by Calgary River Valleys, a non-profit group. Organizers hope this year’s nesting count continues a recent rising trend, which started after the number of nests significantly decreased following Calgary’s 2013 flood.
“That was really obviously due to the amount of gravel that [got] moved around by the floods,” biologist Chris Bjornson, who aided in the search, said on Friday.
“Some of the gravel got moved to the side of the river or to big dry islands, where the fish couldn’t use them.”
However, Lesley Peterson – a biologist with Trout Unlimited Canada – said that what caused the number of spawning nests to dwindle could also contribute to their comeback.
“Often what happens after a flood, is it redistributes the gravel, it cleans it all up, it washes away a lot of the silt and can really improve spawning habitat,” Peterson said.
In 2014, 101 spawning nests were counted in the Elbow River by the group. Last year, the tally was 231.
The annual count not only helps researchers get a sense of the brown trout population, but also the overall health of the Elbow River.
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