NANFA-- One of those conversations...

Todd Crail (
Sun, 29 Jun 2003 13:53:28 -0400

...that just has to be put into print.

I was trying to see how this whole thing fit into the "Bioblitz - Brookie
Bonanza" we encountered yesterday, and it needs to just stand alone.

The background:
- Nick Zarlinga has lived at his house for 1.5 years.
- Nick Zarlinga has a channelized stream/ditch running the back of his
- Said stream is drainage for many points of origin for residential
non-source point pollution.
- Said stream has always intrigued Nick and various NANFA members, but no
extended effort was made to sample the stream due to it's "degraded" look
and feel.

We actually got back to Nick's yesterday prior to sunset. Since we were
"already wet" we "might as well go check it out".

Upon entering, we were suprised at the firmness of the substrate. We
expected to be walking in total muck, however, it was a stable
gravelly-sandy type substrate in most of the bed. There were sulfurous
pockets of soft substrates (which are essential to freshwater systems), but
they were very minimal compared to what we thought we'd run into (which they
can be overwhelming).

The next thing I noticed was anacharis (elodea) mats growing in the bed.
I've only ever run into this in better quality streams, and certainly
nowhere in NW Ohio. As we were discussing that and trying to determine what
may have been an apongeton plant growing along side, I noticed a fish dart
under the anacharis mat.

"Hey did you see that fish? Let just surround the mat and see what it was."
"Whoa! There's a bunch of fish!"
"What the heck is that?!?!"
"What are those!?!?!"
<cover your ears ladies>
"They're all sticklebacks!!! Holy....!!!!"
"Do you know how many places all over this godforsaken State I've tried to
find sticklebacks!?!"
"Yeah me too! Sheesh!"

Yes indeed, we found a localized dense population of the brook stickleback.
Right about 150 feet from where Mr. Z lays his head to rest every night.

Further sampling revealed 9 species, among which, mudminnows were found, and
are another species of fish Nick has been looking for. Amazing. With all
my ditch experiences lately, I will never look at a stream as too small or
too degraded. It's worth jumping in, no matter what you do or don't find.
We're suspicious that there's also grass pickerel in there as well. I
wouldn't be suprised to find tadpole madtoms. We'd only sampled about 30-40
yards of it, and there wasn't much of a change in habitat. Seems Nick is
going to be a little bit busy creating some for future excursions :)

The list:
Central Mudminnow
Brook Stickleback
Redfin Shiner
Fathead Minnow
White Sucker
Bluegill Sunfish
Green Sunfish
Pumpkinseed Sunfish
Largemouth Bass

"The nation behaves well if it treats resources as assets
which it must turn over to the next generation increased,
and not impaired, in value."
- President Theodore Roosevelt
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