Mill Creek Stewardship Rangers work through the hot summer to maintain the creek as a cold water stream

Mill Creek Stewardship Rangers work through the hot summer to maintain the creek as a cold water stream.

Although 2015 may have been the warmest year on record, the Friends on Mill Creek (FOMC) and the Mill Creek Stewardship Rangers do their best to ensure that Mill Creek remains a cold water stream which provides a home for trout, dace and other coldwater species.

Each summer since 2003, the FOMC have supported a crew of four high school students and a crew leader who work to maintain and improve Mill Creek, a groundwater fed cold-water stream which originates in the uplands and woodlands/wetlands of Puslinch Township and winds for more than 30 km through the Township before joining the Grand River in Cambridge.

The 2015 Stewardship Rangers crew consisted of Cambridge residents, Evan De Melo and Mitch Walker, and Guelph residents Drew Huggins and Sam Neumann, with returning University of Guelph student, Adam Riggi, as crew leader.

Supervision and technical guidance was provided by Robert Messier and Crystal Allan of the Grand River Conservation Authority (GRCA).

The program focused on habitat improvement and stream rehabilitation but also included training and education.

On both Mill Creek and a tributary steam, the Rangers removed wood and other debris obstructing the stream, then using it to re-configure a more natural channel.

At the end of the summer, the Rangers were introduced to electrofishing, a fish sampling technique in which a weak direct electric current is used to attract and temporarily immobilize fish for easy capture and release. The Rangers collected and released a dozen brown trout and several other species of cold water fish. They also helped in removing two beaver dams which were interfering with stream monitoring instruments and participated in the annual Mill Creek Clean up at Soper Park in Cambridge.

The Ranger`s first week started with safety and CPR training at the GRCA and ended with a streamside lecture by Jack Imhof, National Biologist with Trout Unlimited Canada on the unique history and characteristics of Mill Creek.

The Mill Creek Student Rangers Program is supported by the Friends of Mill Creek, a volunteer, community-based organization dedicated to maintaining and enhancing the Mill Creek watershed. The Ranger program is funded through generous donations from local community members, businesses and organizations. The Friends of Mill Creek acknowledges and thanks our partners who contribute their time, money, expertise and equipment to help us achieve our goals.

Our partners included: Aberfoyle AquaScience, Benson Tire, Brenda Law, Car-Store Automotive Inc., City of Cambridge, County of Wellington, Dufferin Aggregates (a division of Holcim (Canada) Inc.), Department of Fisheries and Oceans Canada, Grand River Conservation Authority, Grand River Conservation Foundation, Halltech Aquatic Research Inc., LRG Environmental, Michelle Cassar, Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources, Nestle Waters Canada, North-South Environmental, Optimist Club of Puslinch, Cam Percy, Sovereign Fusion Inc, Steed and Evans Limited, Township of Puslinch, Wellington County Stewardship Council and the WSP Group.

Planning for next year’s program for Mill Creek is already underway.

The Friends are open to anyone who can spare a few hours, and shares our passion for protecting this precious resource for future generations and in helping to develop the next generation of conservationists. We meet at the Puslinch Community Centre at 3:30 pm on the third Wednesday of every month. For more information please visit the Friends of Mill Creek website