Ryan DePauw (IL-IN chapter chair) invited local NANFA members to setup a informational table at the 'Tribute to Springbrook Creek' event at the SpringBrook Nature Center, Itasca, IL. The event was on Saturday, June 11. NANFA members present were Ryan DePauw, Scott Davis, Sajjad Lateef, Ron Humbert, Jim Bland, and new member Bill Becvar of Rockford, IL.
Some NANFAns had shown up early and started collecting in the creek at Springbrook Nature Center. These fish were setup in two tanks. Also, on the other table, we had Claus Sutor's poster setup along with some promotional material.
Fishes on display were local, common species - Yellow bullhead, blackstripe topminnow, blackstripe minnows, bluegills, fathead minnows (including some with breeding tubercles), golden shiners, red shiners and crayfish. They may have been a couple of different Pimephales sp. Overall about 8 species of common fish. The fish had colored up somewhat after settling in the tanks and made a fine display for the kids and adults who stopped by. Most of the fish were returned to the creek after the event. The area has recently experienced an oil spill and several fish had been killed. It was a pleasant surprise to see the diversity a few months after the spill. We didn't catch any of the Orangespotted sunfish that had been sampled before, two years ago.
All visitors who stopped by were amazed that all those fish had been collected from the creek just hours earlier. We handed out some literature and hopefully helped elighten a few kids about native fish.
During the Springbrook event, Chris Oszak of the Salt Creek Watershet Network invited NANFA to participate in the "Meet the Creek" event in Brookfield, IL. The event was held on Sunday, June 19 from 11:00 am to 2:00 pm at the Brookfield Kiwanis Park.
NANFA members, Scott Davis and Sajjad Lateef, sampled Salt Creek section in Brookfield, IL (south of the Zoo, Brookfield Kiwanis Park). The fish collected were set up for a native fish display at the "Meet the Creek" event organized by the Salt Creek Watershed Network and The Village of Brookfield.
We found lots and lots of Rusty Crayfish (dominant species), bluntnose/fathead minnows (some adults with breeding tubercles and YOY),blackstripe minnows (adults and YOY), a silvery shiner with deeply forked tail (guess: golden shiner) and what could have been YOY creek chubs.
The creek was very cloudy and had deep pockets of mud on either side that released Hydrogen Sulphide gas when disturbed. There was debris/riprap on the edges of the stream that made it difficult to collect. We did not see different habitats where we were. Also, the hydrogen sulphide pockets deterred us from sampling the edges. Most of the fish we collected was in the central part of the stream in about four foot deep channel (gravel bottom, some current). Given that we had a 8ft seine in a 30+ foot wide stream, I am pretty sure that many fish just laughed and swam around us.
There were some inverts in the stream (dragonfly larvae, asian clams and native mussels including Thumbnail clams). No emergent aquatic growth or submersed plants. Some duckweed floating on the surface along with some small oil slicks.
We setup a display at the "Meet the Creek" event and explained the fish we found to several kids and adults. We made it a point to show them the rusty crayfish (highlighting the rust spots) and that it was an exotic invasive and bad for the environment. All in all, about 50 people stopped by. A couple of the people had native fish in ponds or tanks and they chatted a bit about their fish. One had a swamp ecosystem setup with plants, amphibians, reptiles and fish in a 55G at home. Several kids got to see crayfish up close for the first time and were duly impressed. The older kids got to name the fish and the younger ones got to count them.
Almost all of the people were surprised to see that fish actually lived in that creek.
All fish, mussel shells were returned to the creek after the event. The rusty crayfish were, um, served to the raccoons.
|Brookfield Kiwanis Park, June 19, 2005 Meet the Creek|
|Springbrook Nature Center, June 11, 2005 Tribute to SpringBrook Creek|