In this short video, we visit a little creek or “brook” in southern Leelanau County fed by groundwater springs and flowing toward Lake Leelanau. The small stream is part of an old farmstead donated to the nonprofit outdoor education group known as the Human Nature School (Traverse City). School staff and volunteers have been working to clean up the old farmstead and wondered what needed to be done to improve the creek that flows across the property.
Co-Directors Kriya Miller and Matt Miller are excited about the opportunity to provide new educational experiences on this property. However, the little creek appeared overgrown and choked with branches from trees and shrubs. To help them better understand the challenges of improving the stream, they asked their friend, aquatic ecologist Brett Fessell to pay a visit and make a few suggestions.
In this video, we watch Fessell and biologist, Dan May evaluate the creek and complete a proper fish survey of the creek. We learn along with the Millers about brook trout and the habitat provided by such small creeks in Northwest Lower Michigan. Fessell says that although these small creeks may be isolated at times, they represent a kind of “bank” for brook trout that may be released during times of high water.
As we learn, sometimes streams are best when left in their natural state.