Chapter President: Bob James
Area of Interest
The Happy Trout Chapter focuses its work on the headwaters of the Rocky Saugeen River near Markdale Ontario and specifically several of the small tributaries of the Rocky: West Arm of the Rocky Saugeen and Barrhead Creek. The Rocky Saugeen is likely the largest stream left in southern Ontario that still contains a relatively healthy native Brook Trout community. The Rocky Saugeen is a major tributary of the Saugeen watershed. The Saugeen watershed is 3,860 km2 and is likely the single largest coldwater watershed remaining in southern Ontario. The Rocky gathers enormous groundwater from both bedrock aquifers and the glacial gravel deposits that occur in its upper watershed.
Happy Trout Chapter’s mission is the enhancement of trout habitat along the West Arm of the Rocky Saugeen and the Barhead Creek through stream rehabilitation. The Chapter also attends to water taking and water quality issues in the local watershed through political involvement.
The Chapter views the rehabilitation of the West Rocky Saugeen River as critical to the survival and proliferation of the region’s Brook Trout. Increased sediment, increased temperature and decreased flow have decreased water quality for the trout and inspired the Chapter to combat this. Through their efforts at maintaining water temperature and removing sediment they have helped improve the water’s quality and hope to continue this to even greater ends.
The Chapter is composed mostly of landowners and local conservation-minded people that see the health of the Rocky Saugeen and its tributaries as critical to the health of their local communities. The Brook Trout tell that that they are doing the right job.
Since its inception, the Chapter has restored temperatures and habitat to the majority of the West Arm of the Rocky Saugeen to the point where Brook Trout populations thrive once again. Work included removal of undersized culverts, removal of one on-stream pond and a substantial amount of in-stream habitat work over the last 10 years. Work also began on the Barrhead to restore its health and this project is currently underway.
The Happy Trout Chapter was founded in the fall 2005 by a group of local landowners and conservationists living in the Markdale Ontario area. The Chapter members and landowners were concerned about the deteriorating water quality, habitat loss and temperature increases in the tributaries and mainstem of the Rocky Saugeen and approached the Ontario office of TUC for assistance in determining a course of action.
The name of the Chapter derives from an organizational meeting held at the cottage of one of the interested local people. The cottage lane was difficult to see from the main road so a wooden cut-out of a trout was posted at the entrance to the lane with the direction to look for the smiling trout. The group liked the idea of the smiling trout but decided to call the chapter the Happy Trout Chapter in the hopes that their collective work would end up with good habitat and happy Brook Trout!