April 24, 2017

Update from Josh Markle, TUC Oldman River Chapter president

AGM – This Year and Next
This year’s AGM was a success. We had some excellent presentations, particularly Jeremy Benson’s of his work on over-wintering habitat for WCT in Gold, Blairmore, and Daisy creeks. I would like to see student research continue to be a significant part of our AGM going forward (see below) and, of course, in our work as a Chapter, in general.
I’d also like to use the AGM to connect with like-minded individuals from beyond the Chapter and be a potential source of fundraising – this might include things like having a guest speaker and charging for tickets or maybe even having a place like Theoretically Brewing create a few kegs of custom, trout-themed beer. Between Andrew, Paul, and I, we could keep the chapter in the red for years to come!
These are just some ideas – please offer your own. Thanks goes to the presenters and Theoretically Brewing for hosting.
Website Update

The Chapter website will get a facelift at some point in 2017 – Shane Olson has offered to help with this. Andrew works our Instagram and we have a few Facebook admins. Through those three avenues, we’ll continue to raise awareness for important issues in our watershed and abroad and also highlight Chapter conservation efforts.
I think education is one of the areas where we can get the biggest bang for our buck. Andrew and I have discussed offering an introductory fly fishing school at some point in the Lethbridge area for Spring/Summer 2017. The goal of this would be to not only introduce individuals to the sport, but to instill in them a conservation ethic. If people know what responsible stewardship looks like from the outset, it will go a long way. We will need to purchase some equipment for this, which can be discussed at our next meeting.
Little Crooked Creek
This will be our first major project of 2017. We are providing financial and volunteer support to ACA/NCC to build a fence around the headwaters of Little Crooked Creek, on the Bird’s Eye Ranch property just off HWY 5. This area has been identified as potential WCT habitat. There will be some opportunities for us to collaborate on educational signage, as well. Expect this work to be completed in early Summer 2017.
We awarded a $1500 scholarship to Jeremy Benson for his research on over-wintering habitat in Blairmore, Gold, and Daisy creeks. Jeremy is a masters student working with Dr. Andreas Luek at the University of Lethbridge.
Going forward, we will offer up to two $1500 scholarships to graduate students at the University of Lethbridge. We will also offer two smaller scholarships to students at Lethbridge College. Andreas Luek and Lorne Fitch have offered to work on a Special Projects Committee to evaluate the merits of scholarship applications and make recommendations for awarding them. We hope to secure a third referee, possibly from the College.
If you’d like to be involved, please let me know.
Trip Raffle
In cooperation with the Madison-Gallatin Chapter, we raised over $1500 dollars in a raffle for two guided days and accommodations in the Bozeman area. Thanks goes to them, Kelly Oikawa/Chinook Waters for letting us sell and draw at Fly Fest, Peter DeGorter for building a 4 wt Pieroway (2nd Place), and Crowsnest Angler for donating a net and chest pack (3rd Place).
We have our casino coming up on September 14/15, 2017 and we need volunteers. If you or someone you know can help, please email
Angler Diaries
Our new Angler Diary Program is off to a modestly successful start. We signed about 30 people up with diaries during the recent Lethbridge Fly Fest. Each diarist was given a diary, a postmarked envelope for returning the diary in the fall/winter, and a letter explaining the program. The goal is to collect data on the watershed from an angler’s perspective. We hope these data can inform decision-making in the watershed and provide further opportunities for stewardship, education, and engagement.
If you or someone you know would like one, send an email to

March 21, 2016

Here’s a chronology, with photos, of damage during the past 2 1/2 years at Allison Creek in the Crowsnest Pass. Allison Creek Crossing A Brief Overview

January 15, 2016

Falls on Gold Creek near Lille and proposed mine site

Falls on Gold Creek near Lille and proposed mine site

Here’s is the Statement of Concern the chapter filed to the Alberta Energy Regulator today, with TUC’s endorsement, on the proposed Grassy Mountain mine north of Blairmore that

has significant potential to harm fish and fish habitat in Gold Creek, Blairmore Creek, Daisy Creek and the Crowsnest River. Some interesting historical background on mining in the Pass and the effects on streams and fish is included.

Grassy mountain AER Statement of concern



January 2014 compilation

It has been a winter full of efforts that may have a profound affect on our fishery and chapter. Following are six items related to chapter business, including links to more info for those who want it.
•     At the Oldman River Chapter AGM in January, some new faces with new ideas came forward to lead the chapter.
Some of you would know we have a new chairman, Paul Harper, who brings a solid background in fish and fisheries. The new treasurer is David Hrudy, a local banker (what is it with bankers, fly-fishing and TU:  three of our directors are either bank veeps or retired bank managers.) Clive Schaupmeyer continues to be the chapter glue, serving as secretary.
The board of directors includes newbies Mark Huff and Michael DeGorter. Both are young, as are Paul and David. Allan Caldwell and John Arnold have moved from the executive onto the board. Mike Lamb and Bill Paton, who live in the Pass and direct care of the two leases at Hillcrest and Burmis, Dean Stetson, a former college VP who now just wants to get his hands dirty on TU projects, Ken Britton a business owner, Henry Komadowski college environmental science instructor and Richard Burke, who through the chapter also sits on the Oldman Watershed Council board, round out the board.
Murray Brown agreed to steer the chapter’s casino efforts, scheduled for August. That’s our main source of funding for projects – last casino three years ago netted the chapter about $30,000 which has gone toward Burmis and Hillcrest lease care, signage focusing on fish and the aquatic environment at the the revamped Helen Schuler Coulee Centre, on the St. Mary River and at the leases to replace some ruined by flooding last spring.
If you are able to volunteer for the casino, let us know (send an e-mail to me: or Clive:

•    For the past two years, the Oldman Watershed Council with the help of partners mainly with interests in the mountains, put together a Headwaters Action Plan that now moves into a phase where it’s hoped work can start on fixing some headwaters issues. One of the three targets relates to fish, in particular Westslope Cutthroat, Bull Trout and Mountain Whitefish, which are all experiencing significant decline. But, it really focuses in the fish habitat and seeks to maintain or restore healthy fish streams.
The first action plan target is to “maintain current native and naturalized fish populations within the headwaters and explore opportunities to increase native fish population in their current range.” Rainbow are, of course, naturalized fish. For more, click here Headwater Action Plan.

•    In Late February, about 40 people met at Chain Lakes for the third installment of a Cows and Fish organized update on the Alberta Westslope Recovery Plan. Brian Meagher, TUC provincial fisheries biologist, presented on rehab efforts in the Lake Louise area. Peter DeGorter, Taco Hansma and Richard Burke from the chapter attended and offered on behalf of the chapter to adopt Hidden Creek. For what that means, click here: Hidden Creek

•     A meeting is scheduled for April 3 in Calgary to introduce a program called  Southern Alberta Fisheries Habitat Enhancement and Sustainability Program (FISHES) led by the Ministry of Environment and Sustainable Resource Development (ESRD). For information, Click here: FISHES

•    TU Oldman Chapter, through our representation on the OWC board,  responded to the DFO Westslope Cutthroat Recovery Strategy, which includes the Alberta WSCT Recovery Plan but has added components. Matt Coombs, fisheries bilologist with ESRD in the Crowsnest Pass, contributed some comments. Read the respond here: Oldman TU response to WSCT Recovery Strategy.

• We were asked if we wanted to submit any concerns about pipeline work on the Crowsnest River near Frank. There really wasn’t time for us to put a submission together, but Brian Meagher, provincial fisheries biologist for TUC, put a response together for TU generally and on our behalf. Click here for Pipeline work Submission.

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