The District of Summerland will be hearing an update from the Okanagan National Alliance on Monday on the Trout Creek Restoration Construction Plans for this August.
The District is a member of the ad-hoc Trout Creek Restoration Steering Committee, which is working on the lower Trout Creek Re-naturalization progress.
Stage one construction is set to start this August and run until September near the canyon mouth and on the Summerland Research Station AAFC land parcel.
This creek is a historically important creek for Indigenous fish, especially salmonids (resident and anadromous), which was also historically composed of a large black cottonwood and water birch floodplain and hosted a home for a great diversity of living beings.
Due to channelization in the 1940s and 1970s, combined with upstream slide activity, the creek has seen extreme degradation.
The reports stated that the impacts have reduced the Kokanee spawning population from many thousands to ~300 fish annually. The creek’s carrying capacity for wildlife species at risk has also reduced and 90-100 per cent of the in-stream habitat is large cobble riffles and glides, which is unsuitable for indigenous fish.
According to ONA's report, no pools exist for rearing juvenile fish, and there is a severe lack of in-stream cover for fish and wildlife.
In 2019, the ONA assembled a steering committee at Penticton Indian Band's request – bringing together the PIB, District of Summerland, the ONA, Agriculture and Agri-food Canada, BC Parks, Ministry of Forests, Lands, Natural Resources Operations and Rural Development, local Water Users, multiple engineers and consultants.
The restoration committee has goals to restore the self-sustaining creek habitat form and function which requires minimal human intervention in the long term.
Stage 1 construction includes:
- Floodplain re-engaged floodplain wetted according to two-year freshet discharge (per natural floodplain).
- Widened bankfull (creek channel) width to restore more natural sediment/water movement in the freshet.
- Two to four riffles to be installed to help retain salmonid spawning materials.
Construction plans currently are:
- From Aug. 7 – 23: In-stream construction
- From Aug. 24 – September 30 (TBD): floodplain construction *Construction may have to occur over multiple seasons
- Fall 2022 & beyond: re-vegetation, effectiveness monitoring, adaptive management, subsequent stages downstream.
- August – September 2022: Public Safety Measures, traffic & trail management
The committee hopes to see the project "restore a self-sustaining creek and floodplain form, function, and resilience, restore indigenous plant and animal diversity, and foster positive interaction between people and the site while maintaining flood capacity and minimizing impacts to existing habitat and creatures."
Construction works will likely involve minor, intermittent traffic management procedures at Green Lake Road and Highway 97 for safety.
The south hike/bike trail north of Highway 97 Bridge to the canyon will be closed for the duration of the works for public safety.