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fishteck last won the day on October 5

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  1. Sparkplug, Although your viewpoint has been expressed to me by others with far more knowledge of the pricing model than me. But I've yet to find any information that would suggest that hydro power generation will increase on the Bow River once the PPP agreements are discontinued. The limiting factor is the water resource upstream and licensing agreements downstream. Under the existing federal agreements hydropeaking is the only way power can be generated, by way of storing water capacity for a proportion of the day to give sufficient reserve to operate the electrical turbines. This usually takes place when peak price revenues can be achieved. TransAlta has told me when asked if the system could be switched over to "run-of-the-river" hydro power generation on both the Bow and Kananaskis rivers that the water reserves will not allow it. In other words the limiting factor is water supply. If you look at the AEP stream flow website and review the storage capacity summaries across the Bow River Basin you will see the majority of upstream storage is currently at 85 to 95 % full. In the spring this will drop to less than 50% in some reservoirs. This suggests to me that the current hydro-power generation is close to maximum. The one exception is the AEP Flood Mitigation Operational Model put in place from April to July when Ghost hydro is take off line when the reservoir is emptied. Interestingly, I have started to look at the impact of the proposals for one of three new dam options upstream of Calgary, at either Morley, Ghost or Glenbow. The Ghost upgrade, whereby a new dam and spillway is installed down stream of the existing dam looks to be the best option. It also offers the opportunity to stop hydropeaking and possibly elimination power generation at that site all together. But still the hydrologists believe power hydro power generations will offset the cost of the new dam to some degree. I find it difficult to believe that a new dam could ever be built on the Bow River to protect Calgary against flooding. The proposals as they stand give little relief in stream flow. There is a need for a fresh look at the report generated by the Bow River Water Working Group who put the recommendations together for the three-dam options. Decommissioning all power generation on the Bow River and using the existing storage capacity to offset floods and maintain constant flows where at all possible would make far more sense. Only time will tell!
  2. Bcubed - Rather than just criticize, maybe you need to rationalize what the reason for the drop could be or phone AEP / TransAlta for an explanation: A drop in Bearspaw Reservoir storage levels - could have generated the need to fill. Standard operation proceedures accommodate a 15 CMS movement of flows up or down - the equipment is not sensitive enough to make finer adjustments. The drop and rise in flows are within these objectives and meet my statement. Possibly a malfunction at the dam Possibly a demand by governments to drop the river levels to remove or service instream infrastructure downstream. Go to the AEP Bearspaw flow charts for more accurate information on the release of water within the system. Calgary data is indicative of flows through Calgary centre but are compromised by local runoff. For a more accurate assessment of TransAlta's operations look at the upstream flow recording stations.
  3. I did not attend - others who were there can answer. Discussions I've had would suggest the fishing community needs to address what they believe is a goods day on the river. Either fish counting in numbers, and length caught, or a quality fishing experience catching a few better than average fish. It is my understanding regulations can be customized to fit either objective. There will be a need to broaden the scope of stakeholder input beyond the floppy hat-wader-fly fishing community. Single hooks and no triple-hooks should be the first step. We also need to be aware of the AEP Fish Conservation and Management Strategy - link attached: https://www.alberta.ca/fish-conservation-and-management-strategy.aspx The documents goes into the AEP principals to fishery management. What is of most importance are the guiding principals for consultation and delivery of the program. Recreational fishing is at the top of the agenda and commercial interests ( that includes outfitters and tournaments)) at the bottom. This would suggest that any policy change in the management of the Bow River would protect the interests of the individual angler in preference to guiding and corporate interests.
  4. AEP has now completed 2 years of Bow River Fish Population Surveys that appear to confirm the previous U of C publication that the rainbow trout populations continues to drop by up to 5% annually. If this is true, The trout population in the lower Bow River below the Bonnybrook Waste Water Treatment Plant could be 25 to 30% of what they were in 2003. The Brown Trout and White Fish population have also followed the same trend. If the Bow River supported a West Slope Cutthroat Trout population the province and the feds would have taken affirmative action to protect the fishery. But since both rainbow and brown trout are non-native fish, this is unlikely to happen. We are left with a once "World Class Blue Ribbon Fishery" that at best can probably sustain itself with less fishing pressure. Here is my take on what can and can't be done: Although discussions with TransAlta in 2018 did highlight a need for flow stability and I believe that has now been accomplished within their operational proceedures, the fishing community has little influence on AEP's flood mitigation protocols to protect the City of Calgary against flooding. The proposed new dams on the Bow River either at the Glenbow Ranch, Ghost or the Morley Reserve could be a game changer for the fishery. Although a long way off - 10 to 15 years, now is the time to advocacy to at least consider the recreational fishery. Invertebrate life cycles will evolve on the lower Bow River in the presence of the cleaner discharge from Calgary's wastewater treatment plants. We have seen more stone flies and fewer caddis flies in recent years. Changes will continue from year to year and the fish will most likely change their feeding habits to survive. This will certainly change fishing techniques on a seasonal basis. The days of almost continued dry fly fishing are almost gone. If Whirling Disease in one of the culprits for the decline in Rainbow Trout and White Fish in the Bow River, little can be done to reverse the impact. If Montana is any example trout populations have rebounded or stabilized with the presence of WD. The same will probably take place in the Bow River. Fishing pressure and the regulations that allow it to increase could well be the only management tools available to protect and enhance a depleted fishery. So what is the fishing community prepared to accept in regulations to not only enjoy the river we have at present but the fishery for future generations. It will be very important for all organizations that represent various fishing and habitat conservation activities to unite and advocate for change in fishery and water management. Now is the time to do that.
  5. Some interesting comments since I last posted on Wednesday. First of all, the Bow River from Bearspaw to Carseland has been surveys in 2018 and 2019. Although there are many who just do not believe the science, discussions with AEP biologists show that the data does indicate a continued decline in all sports sports fish populations since 2003. A 40 to 50% drop in Rainbow Trout from 2003 to 2013 (4 to 5% per year). With an additional decline at the same rate Rainbow Trout population could well put the current population at 25 to 30% of 2003 levels. The last two years of data also shows whitefish and brown trout have also declined. The most dramatic drop in population is in size class of 15 to 40 cms in length. Recruitment of trout populations appears to be adequate to support a sustainable fish population in the Bow River. This support what many are saying, very few mid sized fish, but an unusually large number of large fish. The reasons for the decline in fish populations is not clear. But the biomass in the river has decreased due to the clean up of wastewater treatment within Calgary and possibly a scouring of the river during flood years. What is also being reported on this website and by others who have taken up fishing the Bow River above Harvie Passage is reasonably good fishing. Unfortunately rock snot makes it difficult to drag a fly across the bottom of the river. In addition trailered boat access is now available at Shouldice and St. Patrick's with West Baker Park also open to trailered boat next spring thanks to the efforts of Calgary River Users Alliance who spearheaded the stakeholder engagement process with the City of Calgary. This will add to the interest to float fish the upper Bow River. The AEP fish population survey data will be made available later this fall as will the creel survey from last year. You can expect to see considerable debate within the fishing community and what I expect to see are changes to the fishing regulations to preserve the Bow River Sports Fishery.
  6. The following link to report from AEP's 2006 Water for Life Bow River Benthic Invertebrate and Epillthic Algae Monitoring shed some light on sample sites from Cochrane to where it joins the Oldman River. The data was collected in October 2006 and compared to data collected before waste water treatment plant upgrades. Although there was some improvement in water quality as compiled by the data sets, the nutrient enrichment of the river was higher close to Calgary. I had the opportunity to look at a more recent data set from 2014 and did a limited comparison to the 2006 data. What became evident from the discussion with AEP's scientific staff was that there is danger in comparison of the monitoring data to establish a trend in invertebrate population throughout the year. A more detailed study is needed to establish seasonal variations and water flow differences. https://open.alberta.ca/dataset/6b2fe6a8-d5bc-494c-adf1-4a60e0ebcf70/resource/4acd9651-70b4-4202-b432-cb3c38d37df1/download/8141.pdf There is also a need to recognize that year to year variations in invertebrate colonies do take place. I came to the conclusion that a review of the published literature would need to be done before a fishery related Bow River invertebrate monitoring project should take place. Even if the research was conducted, it has little impact on water management policy change since the water quality would more than likely improve over time.
  7. The overriding opinion by just about everyone I have spoken to, including local AEP staff is that the fish populations continue to decline. Although there are a multitude of possible reason for the decline, all probably valid, I believe there are limited actions that AEP can take to to stop the decline and hopefully see some improvement. My opinion is that the fishing community needs to recognize the Bow River water supply management is controlled by government policy to protect cities against flooding and agricultural needs downstream. This will not change. But we can expect to see improvements in the daily operations of water release to enhance fishing opportunities. Although the Calgary waste water treatment plants put less biomass into the Bow River nowadays, far less than 20 years ago, it still exists, but in less quantity. The result is that there is less fish habitat and a change in invertebrate life. We just don't see consistent caddis and mayfly hatches through the day and year. Other food sources such as stoneflies and grasshoppers change from year to year depending on life cycle and weather conditions. So what are we left with? Subsurface invertebrates in lower numbers and a limited dry fly hatch that is not always fishable due to environmental and daylight conditions. Our only consistent accessible dry fly fishery will probably be limited to the fall Blue Winged-Olive hatch. Therefore the dream of year-round dry fly fishing is a thing of the past on the Bow River. If the desire is to catch fish consistently throughout the day, nymphing is the only option. I personally have a problem accepting this, therefore have to face the reality I either change fishing techniques, move to other rivers, or quit altogether! This is what we are faced with - a depleted invertebrate population, lower fish numbers, far more fishing pressure and advance fishing techniques that consistently catch more fish. There is only one way for the fishery to go without fishery management change and that is downward!
  8. There is a need for all of us to recognize that we have a different sense of urgency on the Bow River fish population decline based on when one starting fishing the Bow. This has been described by academia as a Shifting Baseline: "Why is it that a young fisherman views his catch of a few scrawny sardines as natural, while an old-timer sees it as the sad scraps of an ocean once brimming with giant wildlife? Two decades ago, renowned fisheries expert Daniel Pauly introduced “shifting baselines syndrome” to explain our generational blindness to environmental destruction. In recent years the idea has found a particular advocate in George Monbiot, a respected environmental writer. Oceana spoke with Monbiot and Pauly to learn how much we’ve lost, and what it will take to make abundance the ocean’s new baseline". https://oceana.org/blog/daniel-pauly-and-george-monbiot-conversation-about-shifting-baselines-syndrome Give some thought to this - for me I think back 20 years and see a dramatic change - for those who have only fished the Bow since the 2013 flood (the majority?) see minimal change. AEP regional fishery biologists are aware of the different action that is needed to meet a multitude of opinions. Will, or is it even possible to return the Bow River fish population back to the glory day? Almost impossible!
  9. Alberta Environment & Parks has indicated that a Bow River Fish Population Cumulative Effect Computer Modelling Program is being developed. It will include all the possible reasons for the decline in trout populations. It is clear that no single reason for the decline has been identified, but there is evidence that combination of effects can contribute to a greater influence on fish population declines. For example the combination of less organic content in water water + variable flows could have a greater cumulative effect impact than for example whirling disease + loss of spawning habitat. But maybe vise-versa Another example could well be the impact of less organic content in the river that results in less weeds in combination with a year round open fishing season will increase catch rates far more than if the organic content was higher. The weeds are the issue here - more weeds - less fishable water. It is my understanding that the concept of Cumulative Effect Computer Modelling will be presented at the Bow River Trout Fall Fishing Festival. But lets hope the complete data set of information is made public by AEP at the same time.
  10. Come on everyone - don't live in a state of denial. The Bow River trout population will never revert to what it once was in the '90 and early part of this century. Too much man made intervention has changed and is irreversible!: Calgary Waste Water Treatment Plants have cleaned up the river - I can remember when the weeds were so thick you could almost walk across the river. The cleanup of the river has seen a demise of invertebrate habitat for much of the year and therefore the spectrum of bug life has changed. A drop in caddis and mayflies lava and an increase in stone-flies. This will hopefully continue, but no guarantees. The historical water management model put in place by the governments of both Canada and Alberta many years ago gave us reasonable stable flows outside of spring runoff. Now we are faced with the GOA intervention in these norms to protect the City of Calgary against future flooding. Don't blame TransAlta for this - its a GOA directive. After the disaster of water management in the early part of the modifies water management operations from April to July 2018, Transalta have recognized the importance of stable flows to the fishing community and have done there best to meet projected demands from AEP while stabilizing variants in flows as best they can for the past 2 years. What we have seen this year is the impact of rainfall over the Calgary. Some days the flows increased by as much as 100 cms over less than an hour when the rain gods dumped water across our city. Don't blame Transalta but pray to the rain gods to respect the fishing community. Although the Bow River modified water management operations each spring will not change for 10 to 15 years. Distasteful as they may be, the proposed addition to dams on the upper Bow River could well improve and stabilize flows through and downstream of Calgary. See a post I put up on the web a few days ago. Go to one of the information meetings later this month to get a better understanding of the proposals. The future of our fishery is in your hands. Will or should we see a cull of pelicans, cormorants and other fish loving predators? Probably not. Angling, even with CnR may well contribute more fish loss that predators! So what left? Angling pressure and habitat enhancement. I put my money of river closure and fishing gear restrictions. Yes, the Bow River is still a good recreation fishery and with some help can be maintained for future generations - but it will never return to what some of us old guys knew 20 plus years ago as a world class Blue Ribbon Fishery
  11. Last year a researcher at the University of Calgary did a retrospective statistical analysis from 20 years of Bow River Fish Population Surveys. Although the focus was on Rainbow Trout, that showed a 40 to 50% drop in there population from 2003 to 2013, AEP confirmed that all sports fish in the Bow River continue to decline. If that is the case, the Rainbow Trout population could be at 25 to 30% of 2003 data. Or possibly reaching a non-sustainable level. There is hope that Alberta Environment & Parks will take the lead to develop a policy for fish recovery in the Bow River. But recent attempts to close fisheries have not been implemented. Many within the fishing community believe single barbless hook, special angling licenses, enhancement to fish habitat and water flow management will help. Fishing pressure continues to increase and without government intervention the fishing community needs to take responsibility to support good fish handling techniques - possible reduce the current fish counting obsession as a successful day's fishing and cut back the number of fish caught by reducing the days fished. If not we can say goodbye to the Bow River trout fishery in future years.
  12. Although the Angling Outfitters & Guide Association of Alberta attempts to generate professional standards within the Bow river guiding community, they have little power to enforce policy. What is needed in Alberta is for the government to license guides in the same way as Montana. In that state a guide has to work under and outfitter license for a registered number of trips before thy can apply for an outfitter license and sell their services to the public. Why this has not happened here is difficult to understand. There are just too many anglers with a boat hanging up a shingle on social media and offering guiding services. It needs to change and once we recognize that the guiding industry in what ever form it exists on the Bow River will have to change to support AEP initiatives to preserve a depleted trout population, we will see restrictions put in place. This will only improve the experience a client receives from an outfitter. For now it is a free-for all!
  13. A proposal for new dams on the Bow River. Is this justified? https://indd.adobe.com/view/c3fc63d9-50a2-4aa4-b30c-85effafb62ff If you wish to comment on the proposed development go to: https://talkaep.alberta.ca/
  14. Calgary's Bow River has been patrolled by Calgary Fire Department and Police Department for a number of years. The fishing and paddle community has felt that it is an unnecessary expense that does little to improve safety on the river. With the City of Calgary squeezed for cash it is time to reconsider the benefits of an overreach to emergency services. Calgary River Users Alliance (CRUA) sent the following open letter to Calgary City Councillors on Monday, July 15, 2109. It is hoped that river patrols will be discontinued. https://www.calgaryriverusers.org/calgary-fire-department-budget-cuts-open-letter-to-calgary-city-councillors/ In May 2018 CRUA met with the Calgary Fire Department to discuss ways to open up city boat ramps to the public and also express our concerns with the speed at which river patrol boats operate on the river. We were informed that routine river patrols below the city limits ( Deerfoot Extension Bridge) would be stopped and to our knowledge have not been seen on the lower Bow River as often as in previous years. There have been reports on this website indicating that emergency service boats still patrol the Bow River and some times at excessive speed. If you encounter this - video tape - if possible and send details to my mailbox or post on this blog.
  15. This is a classical "We know better" - "No need to ask". "An overreach of jurisdiction" take your pick. I asked if they planned to charge the boat owner for the recovery? But before they responded, I though they were wondering if they would be charged for destruction of the boat! There answer was maybe! Matt: Who tried to run you down? CFD or Foothills fire Department. If it was CFD they are out of their jurisdiction. Take their numbers and time of day and call 311. Also post the information on this forum
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