A few weeks ago a story ran in the Omaha World-Herald about a new comprehensive plan addressing stream habitat needs across the state. Please take some time and read the Marjie Ducey story, Plan aims to preserve streams across Nebraska.
I wanted to mention this in a blog post to fill in a few blanks. First of all, if you are interested in details, if you want to see the actual 120-page plan, here it is, Cool Water Stream Management Plan.
Secondly, you may have noticed a discrepancy in the title of this blog post and the title of the plan–one says “Cold Water” and the other says “Cool Water”. It is both. Nebraska does have some cold water streams that are capable of supporting cold water species like Trout year-round. Those streams are high quality and important habitats, especially to Nebraska anglers. We have always done some habitat work on those cold water streams and they certainly are included in this new comprehensive plan. At the same time, we have a variety of other aquatic critters including some relatively rare species of minnows that occur in other high quality river and stream habitats throughout the state. Those aquatic species, in particular the fish, may thrive in “cool water” habitats more so than cold-water Trout and those habitat needs are also addressed in this plan. Cool water, cold water, call it what you want, it is both and probably does not make any difference unless you are a somewhat “anal” pointy-headed fish biologist.
Just know this, all of those habitats and all of those aquatic critters are important resources and this plan will focus our management efforts in the coming years.
Yes, most of Nebraska’s stream and river miles are controlled by private landowners. Yes, that will mean some of the work carried out as part of this plan will be done on private land. Just because Nebraska water law says that landowners own the bottom of the stream does not mean they exclusively own the water, fish and other aquatic critters swimming in that water. They do not. Those resources belong to you, belong to me. River and stream habitats are contiguous, include both private and public lands, and are important to Nebraska anglers and all Nebraskans. Habitat work done on stream stretches on private lands will benefit the entire length of the stream, both public and private. Fish can swim.
This is in no way our first attempt at enhancing stream habitats, we have done this before. But, here are some pictures of some of the recent work that has been done:
I did not know that chainsaws work underwater!
Yes, fisheries biologists are Super Men, but sometimes a little bit of heavy equipment makes the work a whole lot easier.
If you have fished a small stream, you know how the fish, and other aquatic critters, are going to love this.
As Marjie mentioned in her article, the Trout move in right away. Field sampling proves it!
I am not going to promise that all of this work will result in fish like this, but it is possible!