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Trees along the river help smallmouth bass grow


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This is an abstract of Greg Whitledge, a researcher the ISA has helped fund for work in Illinois.

 

http://www.mostreamteam.org/pdfs/Whitledge.pdf

 

His work shows that restoring riparian timber along smallmouth streams helps moderate temperatures and increases the growth of smallmouth bass. He'll be looking at this dynamic in a smallmouth population in southern Illinois, comparing their growth response to temperature to those observed in Missouri populations and helping quantify the benefits of restoring riparian timber to smallmouth fisheries in Illinois.

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  • 2 weeks later...

Tim ,

Interesting topic.

 

From my personal experiences, wood/trees/stumps/laydowns, and the like, attract and hold good size SMB.

In some areas, good numbers of SMB resided here.

In some areas, the SMB made it there wintering home.

 

Since all these beautification projects have commenced, good and bad, along the Fox---

primarily the removal of all the good wood/trees/laydowns and the like,

the areas are pretty much void of big fish and numbers.

 

How does the IDNR allow natural habitat to be removed?

 

The structure provided current breaks, held baitfish and crawfish, which attracts the game fish.

 

Personally, I think all the do gooders, haven't helped the fishery.

 

Some areas are now void of good SMB population and size.

 

Perhaps the fish moved, took up residence in new locations, and area not as easy to get to them---

for the shorebound anglers.

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Since all these beautification projects have commenced, good and bad, along the Fox---

primarily the removal of all the good wood/trees/laydowns and the like,

the areas are pretty much void of big fish and numbers.

 

How does the IDNR allow natural habitat to be removed?

 

The results you describe were completely predictable, Ken. Fisheries lost due to the removal of trees and deadfall from rivers and streams has been repeated all over the world. Some body's idea of a "beautiful" river was one that was tidy and sterile and under control...in other words, they wanted a ditch. So that's what you got.

 

It happens all over the state for a variety of reasons. In some places, if you call a river a river instead of a ditch, you'd better be ready to scrap.

 

Why doesn't the IDNR stop them?

 

That's a good question. As of this moment, I don't think the IDNR has any regulatory power over that, but there are agencies to which one must apply for permits to effect changes in stream channels. Perhaps fish need a voice in that decision.

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Tim is spot on about this.

Maybe our friends in the state of Indiana can help us with this.

It has been my experience that the IN DNR has little say in river and stream matters, as the local drainage districts control most everything.

Kind of like here, but much more so.

 

I recall something about the Army Corps of Engineers having much to do with snagging our rivers, and did a little research.

 

Here is one particular story that you might find interesting:

Large Woody Debris Removal Ecology and Ethics

How Much Wood Does a Paddler Chuck? By Kevin Colburn

Originally published in the American Whitewater Journal 2001.

 

Strainers, filters, sweepers, wood, log sieves, log jams, timber, do you have a chill running down your spine yet? At every blind corner or blind drop we shudder a little and worry about a hiding log. Logs give us nightmares. Logs are the predators of paddlers and we treat them how our ancestors in this country treated wolves and mountain lions. They are generally disliked, their importance to the ecosystem is completely misunderstood, they are removed whenever possible, and if one is ever implicated in the injury or death of a human it is ceremoniously destroyed.

 

We are not the first to pull logs from rivers. If you had been a paddler 300 years ago it would have been a very different experience. There would have been more beaver dams than you can imagine, and large numbers of logs scattered all throughout the creeks and rivers. It would have been a royal pain in the butt. Then the trappers came and killed all the beaver and on the heels of the trappers were loggers. Loggers cut all the trees that would have one day fallen into the river and built splash dams in steep creeks. These dams would hold back floating logs and then would be dynamited to flush the logs downstream. Logs were removed from large rivers to aid in passage of steam-boats, which were fueled with wood cut from the banks of the rivers. Later the army corps of engineers stepped in to do a really adept job of log removal in our large rivers to maintain their navigability. Farms, roads, railroads, and towns were built in the floodplains and along rivers. These structures required stable rivers that were free of logs and high flows. Many rivers were dammed, dredged, ditched, diked, diverted, and dewatered to create straight simple manicured waterways. The policies of removing logs from streams persisted into the 1980s when it was still mandated that loggers remove all the logs from streams as part of cleaning up their mess.

 

Three hundred years ago most US rivers would have been rich with fish and salamanders and other critters of astounding diversity and numbers. The banks would have been densely vegetated in almost every part of the country, and where there were trees, there would be trees in streams. The rivers and streams would flood, but the stream and floodplain ecosystems were adapted to flooding. Salmon and other fish would ride the floods to the ocean, nutrient rich sediments would be deposited on the floodplains and the vegetation would flourish. There would be a constant cycle of natural disturbance that would create a river system that offered a large diversity of habitats for all kinds of species of plants and animals.

Read More Here

 

OR- how about this one?

Clean and Open Method: Woody Debris Management 101

One of the challenges in river maintenance and riparian corridor management is how we look at logjams. In the recent past, logjams were thought to be a significant problem and were completely removed from stream channels. New studies have now shown that logjams help reduce erosion, provide habitat for fish and wildlife and are an important part of the natural processes of a river system. Now it is recommended to leave most logjams in place. Woody debris management (WDM) is the process of determining what to about wood in the river; move, remove or add, and how best to do that work. The Clean and Open method of woody debris management has been specifically developed to give some initial guidance on how to manage a logjam, while preserving the benefits they provide and minimizing the problems they can create. The following method is designed to be part of a larger river maintenance/riparian corridor management plan, but can be used effectively at individual sites effectively.

Read More Here

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Guest rich mc

that was some good reading. there will be some logjam clean up in the future at indian creek. most logs will be left ,removing cluttered logs. current is now cutting around the high bank side. this is a small project for about 3-4 guys . rich

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