Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Return of the Creek

The rain was enough to bring some flow back to the creek. The little riffles are once again active. It won’t be long before the aquatic organisms that spent the dry time deep in the creek gravel will make their way back to the open water.

Now the deer don’t have to concentrate at the isolated pools and the creek banks won’t suffer further damage.

Even though we had over three inches of rain, the creek did not experience any flooding or even a strong flow. The water that entered the creek came primarily from ground water that had been restored during the rain event. Severe flooding in these small tributaries is a man made phenomenon. Poor land management practices destroyed the natural structure of the soil and reduced the ability of the soil to allow water to infiltrate. When water can’t move into the ground, it quickly flows across the surface to the stream and causes flash flooding. As the soil structure improves at Blue Jay Barrens, a greater percentage of rainfall is able to travel through the soil to the ground water layer and the creek suffers less from high flows.

The leaves were hardly disturbed by the resurrection of the creek. Leaves are the primary source of energy for the stream ecosystem. A multitude of organisms will work to break down these leaves and utilize their stored energy before the leaves get moved further down stream.

Larger organisms will pull leaves beneath the stream bed rocks and consume them at a leisurely pace. As the leaves get broken into bits, smaller organisms will cache the bits for later use.

It’s nice to have the creek back. I love listening to the water fall over the rocks and watching tiny insects working their way across the gravel and seeing the reflection of sky and rocks in the calm water. The creek is quite cheery during the winter and is a strong reminder of life when all else appears dormant.

6 comments:

  1. Sounds like a good restoration : )

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  2. Ah, a wonderful post. Mother Nature is restoring the land once again. :)

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  3. Very interesting- we have a tiny creek behind our house that is fed from both storm water and ground water. It isn't the healthiest looking waterway- all the native vegetation was removed a long time ago and I'm trying to slowly restore it. But, last year we found a newt back there, so I'll take that as a good sign that the ecosystem isn't dead yet!

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  4. Hi, Sarah. Things seem much less stressful when the creek is flowing.

    Hi, Lois. I’m used to the creek going dry for a short while each summer, but it was dry for an awfully long time this year. It’s nice to see it back.

    Hi, Mike. Creeks usually respond quickly to restoration efforts that help improve the water quality. Restoring native vegetation should certainly yield some positive results. Good Luck.

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  5. ...hearing the sound of flowing water is always so soothing. I bet you are glad it's back. Although, Rick tells me colder temps and snow this weekend. Hopefully it's not frozen solid in a week!

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  6. Hi, Kelly. Let's hope there's enough warmth in the ground to delay freezing for a while.

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