NANFA-- backyard fun...

Crail, Todd (
Mon, 20 May 2002 11:08:30 -0400

Welp, now that we're homeowners and have a whole backyard with a 5'
privacy fence around it... I have 1/6 of an acre to tear out all the
boring euro-grasses you have to fertilize and water (just so you can mow
it more) and put in something fun and restorative to the local ecology

The first step was to rip out all the Asiatic ground cover and wiley
juniper bushes and get some All-American gold like coneflowers, black
eyed susans, bergamont and big bluestem in the front beds. But before I
glaze your eyes over with my floristic pursuits, let's get back to the
backyard where I don't have to worry about offending my neighbors
ingrained monotypic suburbanite sensabilities ;)

There will be a sizeable pond(s) with different lempomids, topminners,
shiners. That goes without saying. However, what's been begun and what
intrigues me the most are the wetland gardens that I'm going to set up
as well. My wife and I dug out the first one last night. If you'd like
to get an idea of what we're doing, you can look over here:

I was looking at the pictures this morning and hadn't even considered
these gardens as potential native fish rearing habitats. The plants
that exist in saturated soils like this can take extra flooding for a
better part of the year. The land stewards I know that work with wet
prarie areas around here find mudminnows, green sunnies and pickerel in
their salamander traps when surveying in the spring. We have no idea
how they get in there either. Must be from drainage ditches. The water
out there can be anywhere up to 12" deep (which is pathetic considering
how deep it used to be), but the majority is just depressions in the
ground that are 3" deep pools.

What fish would make good canidates, if I were to make it so I could
flood these gardens? I think mudminnows are an obvious choice, and
would be necessary for 'squito control. Would topminnows have the heat
tolerances as well? Any species of fish that I'm overlooking in the
Great Lakes drainages?

I'm very excited about the possiblities here. Hopefully I end up with
caddisflies, mayflies, etc as the different ponds and gardens age. I'd
know I was doing really well if a spotted turtle showed up ;)

Thanks in advance
/"Unless stated otherwise, comments made on this list do not necessarily
/ reflect the beliefs or goals of the North American Native Fishes
/ Association"
/ This is the discussion list of the North American Native Fishes Association
/ To subscribe, unsubscribe, or get help, send the word
/ subscribe, unsubscribe, or help in the body (not subject) of an email to
/ For a digest version, send the command to
/ instead.
/ For more information about NANFA, visit our web page,