It is said that brook trout were once so common in parts of the Credit River that you could catch them by dipping a bucket in the water. In the last century, there’s been a dramatic decline and brook trout have disappeared from many parts of the watershed. With this loss, so goes some of the biodiversity and magic of the Credit River.
Brook trout rely on cold, clean water to thrive. Their decline is attributed to rising water temperatures and the deterioration of fish habitat caused by climate change, reduced water quality and rapid urbanization. There are also as many as 600 dams and online ponds in the Credit River Watershed that create barriers to fish movement and warm the water. However, there are actions we can take to address these impacts and bring the magic of the brook trout back to the Credit River.
Second Creek at Terra Cotta Conservation Area has been the focus for CVC’s habitat restoration team and partners. Since 2010, we’ve removed two dams on Second Creek at Spring Pond and Muskrat Pond. We’ve also installed a bypass channel at Wolf Lake (rather than removing the dam). Second Creek’s natural stream channel and flow have been restored and fish can now travel through.
As trees and plants return to the new streambank, their shade will help decrease water temperatures and support Second Creek’s native fish community. This includes the beloved brook trout that we hope can one day be reintroduced to Second Creek.
There are different approaches to addressing the negative impact of dams and online ponds. Connect with a stewardship coordinator who can help you understand the options and create a more fish-friendly property.