Working with the K’ómoks Nation towards Q’waq’wala7owkw on their unceded territory.

Working with the K’ómoks Nation towards Q’waq’wala7owkw on their unceded territory.

Glen Urquhart Creek Restoration Update

New riffle Construction at Glen Urquhart ~ By L. Stewart

New riffle Construction at Glen Urquhart ~ By L. Stewart

Glen Urquhart Creek flows into Dyke Slough on the north side of the K’ómoks Estuary. It supports salmonids at present, but available spawning and rearing habitat are very limited because it has been severely impacted by agricultural practices and upstream urban development.

Project Watershed contacted local landowners, including Ducks Unlimited Canada and the BC Nature Trust, to access these streams through their properties, and survey work was undertaken in the fall of 2016.

Over the past few years, we have been working to improve the in stream habitat for salmon and other creek creatures. This summer, with the help of our two summer field technicians and our amazing volunteers, we installed three fish habitat riffles along a section of the creek. These structures will improve juvenile summer rearing habitat for salmonids by deepening upstream pools, creating more undercut bank areas, and increasing invertebrate productivity as a result of aeration of the water running over and through the riffles. They may also serve as spawning grounds for Chum (we’ll only be able to tell once we finally get rain!). In addition, we worked to weed out the invasive blackberry from riparian plantings installed last year and prepared the far bank of the stream reach for planting this fall.

Right now (October), we are going to be planting a bunch of native riparian species, installing live willow stakes, and deer protection fencing. This work will carry into November.

We are also planting a large hedgerow in partnership with Lentelus Farms and the North Island College farming education program. Hedgerows provide many ecological benefits in an agricultural landscape including pollinator habitat, corridors for small and medium sized wildlife and amphibians, and bird feeding and nesting areas. Plus, they are aesthetically pleasing.

Looking forward, we will continue working with Ducks Unlimited Canada, Lentelus Farms, and hopefully the City of Courtenay to develop an ecologically sound strategy for the northmost parcel of the Comox Bay Farm. Stay tuned, we anticipate some very neat restoration work in the next few years!

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