Recently, I went out and sampled the headwaters of one of my favorite
streams, Tenmile Creek, here in the Toledo area. One of the drivers on the
Lumber side and I frequently go on deliveries for my PEH side's kitchen
cabinets. While driving around, I discovered some forgotten spark in this
fella's life, we began discussing the natural heritage of the area and got
him right up to speed on all things Lucas County. As a result, he mentioned
that his Grandmother has three properties, each along Tenmile Creek and in
distinctly different habitats along the progression of the creek.
Her home is right on the sharp drop through the sandy Oak Openings in the
City of Sylvania, which is larger rocks and riffle habitat, followed by
pools and runs. Her second property is in the midreaches, which are clay
based Great Black Swamp channeled pools, which I feel have _not_ been
modified (aside from removal of their year round swampy floodplains and wet
forests) and maintain their riparian zones and log jams.
The final property is in the headwaters, which has been modified heavily for
agricultural use and looks more like a ditch rather than a creek (and is
used as one). However, I am incredibly suspicous that this segment exists
in an early drop of sediments from Glacial Lake Warren (if not Glacial Lake
Maumee for sure). The adjunct prairie remnants of the Oak Openings had left
some awesome loamy, sand soils and hydrology which have made a couple of
these local famers fairly wealthy with the prime conditions to grow corn and
soy. It will be interesting to do a little research and actually find the
demarkcations of what _was_ praire and what _was_ swamp, and then play a bit
with what life has made out of what's left.
Again, life persists. In 45 minutes of twilight and a dipnet I was able to
sample 13 of the usual suspects with least darter in the mix. This looks
like the least darter's habitat for sure. I had sampled some with Shane
Graber about a mile upstream earlier this spring as a real suprise. I think
we've stumbled onto a stronghold for Ohio in least darter (once a bit
further north in Michigan they're everywhere :)
It will be interesting to compare notes of Tenmile Creek with Bear Creek and
the Raisin River, which are the watershed directly north, and would have
been connected by swamp or wet prairie a great portion of the time with
Tenmile and Swan Creeks (prevalence of orangethroat darters seem to be a
great indicator around here which was historically prairie and what was not)
. I'll save that for next year when an investment in a Michigan liscence
will make a bit more sense with money being tight and all right now.
And I'm gonna find creek chubsuckers and longears. In one of them. Dangit.
So instead of giving you all the usual list o' fish that I give from Tenmile
Creek, I thought I'd share what I was doing for this gentleman and his
family. He had asked for a list of what was there, and I thought I'd take
the extra creative mile and give him some photos and write it all up nice
and neat on the NANFA Collection Data Sheet to make it look O-fish-al.
While on our mini vacation and thinking about this, it dawned on me that I
sample all these places and then just horde the data. And these sheets
_really_ help me to remember to get my temps, clarity, pH and DO2. I'm
horribly prone to just "Fish fish fish fish" and then smack myself when I'm
20 minutes down the road. So while I was writing them up I thought....
"Why don't I just send these out with a little bit of a NANFA greeting card
and let 'em know what I saw on their property/park/etc and leave a little
bit of an open invitation to come back and do something more formal...."
Jeesh! Why didn't this occur to me sooner?!? :) What a great way to
recruit people into the scope of NANFA's mission, regardless of wether they
become members or make donations to the Grant funds or not (but it'd
certainly be a lot cooler if they did :)
So here's a pic of what I did:
No big deal. Just took some shots that I had, slapped them together with a
little text in Word and this will really make the experience for these
people. I plan on doing something more extensive this winter to be used as
a photo resource for NANFA members. It would be great to consort with
others in different regions as digital cameras are starting to show up in
everyone's hands. We can have a database so you can _easily_ create a
little trip report like this and then mail it out.
The Collecting Data Sheet can be downloaded from:
It's the bottom link on the page, so just scroll down if nothing catches
your interest on the way :)
It's never too late to have a happy childhood.
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