NANFA-- Rather Disappointing.

Crail, Todd (
Thu, 19 Dec 2002 17:37:51 -0500

Well, first of all, let me say there's nothing like a nice hot shower after stomping thru a recently unfrozen stream in cold rain. :)

I had the afternoon off, I felt I should take advantage of the 48 degree air temp (in spite of the pouring rain) instead of sitting in front of a computer during my time off from sitting in front of a computer heh.

I decided to walk down the street of the subdivision to the Hill Ditch, which is a high gradient, sand bottomed drainage ditch that flows into the Ottawa River and maintains water levels all year, even during the drought this year. I'd imagine it's from all the people in the St. James Woods Development (large development) trying to keep their lawns nice and emerald green on sand dunes. Headwaters of the Ottawa are usually schweet (I've spoken of Ten Mile Creek a few times), however, any urbanized area is trashed. Like "50 times the legal amount of lead, mercury and arsenic, hey we've got another e. coli paired with cyano bloom" trashed. They've actually considered paving the existing substrate to lock it all in and then restablishing the stream.... Nice huh?

Well I had high hopes for this ditch as the point I sampled runs at the end of the Oak Openings. The Oak Openings are sand deposits, beach heads, and dunes deposited by Lake Erie's predacessor, Lake Warren. So siltation is not an issue in this ditch. It's all nice and sandy, and anywhere someone's dropped a pile of rocks, makes for a very nice looking riffle. In fact, in the neighborhood here, there's about a 50' section that is all riffle. It does, however, receive more than its fair share of street surface water run off, which was very evident by any drains today, as it was a pretty steady rain. It was difficult to tell how much was petroleum and how much were tannins from leaves that were snowed in and were finally removed this morning by the city. In any case, I was unable to catch a single fish anywhere near any spout. I can't wait for fuel cell car availability to become a reality.

So, with my high hopes of at least finding ONE darter in a 50' long small stream riffle (I quickly gave up on Noturus), it seemed the pools were all that had anything to offer. The list is short and sweet today:

Bluntnose Minnow (uncounted... lots)
Little Silver Notropis Jobbies (2)
Creek Chub (5)
Bluegill (2)
Green Sunfish (2)
Gambusia (3) exotic... came from benevolent non-animal-killing people's garden ponds up stream, I'm sure.
Bullfrog Tadpole (1)

I'm going to give it another shot when I have a real seine (this jute thing I have just sucks, but not nearly as bad as the nylon one ;) and an extra person. All the neighbors seemed real friendly and curious, but not curious enough to come out in the rain to see what I was doing. As they began coming home, I'd wave and then go see if they didn't want me in there. No complaints, just thought it strange :)
I hope you know that this will go down on your permanent record.
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