Mosquitos and Walker’s Creek …

“Hey Ben … come look at this!!”

“Not sure what I am seeing, Kelly”

“See that little wiggly thing … and there’s another one … here, that’s  a small leech … look, some more little bugs …” Kelly Jamesion, staff biologist  with the Niagara Peninsula Conservation Authority (NPCA) had names for all the ‘bugs’ but what impressed me more was that she identified them as the demons of mosquito larvae … they are our protectors, the hungry eliminators of the feared mosquito breeding in the Creek.

Picking up stones that had been totally submerged, or ones that seemed to be in dry areas where stone barriers cross the Creek bed, Kelly found more and more of the wee denizens that are an active part of keeping mosquito breeding well in check. The few minnows we managed to see, the watch for Dragon flies, even sightings of Gold Fish enjoying freedom in the Creek … Kelly identified them all as means to reduce and remove any mosquito larvae that might be in the pools.

Grantham Councillor Bill Phillips, John Kukalis, NPCA Director of Water Management, Jocelyn Clark, NPCA Coordinator of Watershed and Restoration and Kelly Jameison saw to my education during our two and a half hour Stroll on Tuesday, August 22nd … and thereby buried my apprehension that the pooling of water in the Creek created a potential mosquito breeding ground. Close examination  of all pools that we saw … and we did look at a lot …  showed there was always some movement of the water downstream, even a small flushing of water was enough to make that stretch of the stream an undesirable place for egg laying. Add in the openness of some  stretches, and the wind causing ripples on the water and those factors each become another condition that kills off the larvae.

John Kukalis explained that a rimless spare tire with water in it or even an inverted plastic coffee cup lid containing water … a forgotten bird bath … were liable to breed more mosquitos that the pools we visited. Warmed water, where there is no movement, is the ideal location and choice for mosquito egg laying and the Creek does not qualify. Based on that insight, each of us has the opportunity … possibly responsibility … to help reduce mosquito breeding. John also explained that the way the Walker’s Creek flushes after a rain storm, of even minor proportions, was another reason to be sure that mosquito breeding in the Creek is highly unlikely.
Jocelyn Clark, on looking at vegetation along the course of the Creek, encouraged us to maintain a strong vegetative barrier on the Creek banks. This reduces any runoff of unused lawn and garden  fertilizer into the Creek, provides the support for Kelly’s wee critters, adds shade that reduces the growth of algae and maintains the gentle wilderness appearance that this original Creek should seek to copy. Identity of plants that can attract some of the desirable flying mosquito warriors will be forthcoming and consideration of the addition of these plants, to the natural surroundings that is the ultimate  goal, will be encouraged.
The WCNA is most fortunate to have access and assistance from such highly qualified Staff at City, Regional and Provincial government levels, who readily and actively respond to our requests. The present WCNA Executive greatly appreciates the fine work done by our predecessors , upon whose efforts and success we now are able to build and develop.