Monday, November 14, 2016

Hard water

In the summer, Woodhus Creek is a lazy little stream, mumbling sleepily to itself as it trickles from pool to pool in its sandstone bed. Come fall, it switches personalities; now it is a rabid monster smashing its way downstream, bellowing as it goes.

The sign on the path to the creek warns that the fishway can be extremely dangerous. So is the rest of the creek, but one might be tempted to try to walk on the sturdy cement walls of the fishway. Unwise; the water pounds over the lip, as forceful as a firehose, and less manageable.

My camera saw the racing water as if it were rocks.

The fishway is there to cushion the blow, to allow spawning fish to climb the hill safely.

Waterfall and wave

How the fish ladder works: this ladder is a Vertical Slot Fishway. It slopes upward, divided into individual "rooms", each opening onto the next on the perpendicular to the direction of the stream. This creates doorways with strong enough current to orient the fish, and corners with little current, for a resting spot. The total flow is longer than the stream bed, which makes the slope less pronounced. (A ladder for fishes, 2012)

Frothing, pounding waves.

Looking downstream

The water looks solid. It would feel solid, too, if you dared walk into it.

A couple of photos from the summer of 2012 for comparison:

The fishway in summer.

Just below the fishway. The entrance wall juts out at the left.

There was still a little bit of sandstone river bed exposed at the edge of the creek. The water will be higher after the next rains. And angrier.

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