Our Airport And Minnows: What's The Connection?
August 18, 2010
We've had a few enivornmentally focused blog posts on this site, but now we will be writing more about what Winnipeg Airports Authority does to ensure minimal impact on the environment. Today's post looks at our close connection with two tributaries that run on and near our property, and what we're doing to monitor water quality.
At Winnipeg James Armstrong Richardson International Airport, two creeks run through our property: Omand’s Creek to the north and Truro Creek to the south. Due to precipitation and melt waters that drain from our land and into the creek, Winnipeg Airports Authority has designed a Water Management Plan – which you can read up on here – in order to monitor and improve the health of these tributaries.
Truro Creek, which begins northwest of the airport property, flows through the airport property and ends up draining into the Assiniboine River. The creek is intermittent, and riffle structures developed in the tributary keep water in it for most of the year.
The other tributary, Omand’s Creek, runs adjacent to the airport property, and has a habitat that varies as it twists and turns its way down to the Assiniboine River. Grassy areas and small amounts of trees and shrubs can be found along the water’s edge.
This summer, some great news came our way when our Environmental Assistant discovered minnows and tadpoles in Omand’s Creek. And though only a small portion of this waterway runs through our property, this is still a sure sign that our Water Management Plan is working.
But, why is it so important to see minnows and tadpoles in the creek?
Well, for starters, fish need good water quality in order to survive. And although minnows – fathead minnows, in our case – can survive on lower levels of oxygen, tadpoles need a lot, meaning the water is at a stage where more sensitive aquatic life can survive.
Also, minnows and tadpoles are a sign that other fish can prosper in that environment. Catfish and northern pike are species of fish that could easily make their home in this long and narrow body of water. And just as these fish would feed on minnows and tadpoles, so too would mammals feed on catfish and northern pike.
This is all good news for us and our surrounding environments, but it is only possible due to the hard work and continual testing of the water at 25 sampling sites, both on and off airport property.
From April through to freeze-up, water samples are taken on a weekly basis. Three times a week in the spring, twice a week in the summer and once a week in the fall ensures that our Water Management Plan is working effectively.
Below are some photos of the minnows and tadpoles, as well as the locations in which they were spotted.
Muscrat photo credit: NPS Photo