Feasibility of Assessing Fish Entrainment at Wilsey Dam 2

The project will determine a bathymetric profile and flow rates above Wilsey Dam and test multiple acoustic technologies for estimating entrainment of juvenile salmon through the dam. The goal will be to assess the feasibility of acoustic technologies to obtain proportional passage by route (spillway vs. turbines). The long term goal is to establish safe fish passage through the dam.

This project was funded by the Fish and Wildlife Compensation Program on behalf of its program partners BC Hydro, the Province of B.C. and Fisheries and Oceans Canada who work together to conserve and enhance fish and wildlife impacted by the construction of BC Hydro dams.

Feasibility of Assessing Fish Entrainment at Wilsey Dam

The Wilsey Dam has blocked fish passage of anadromous salmonids to 32 kilometers of Middle Shuswap River since its construction in 1928. Interest in restoring fish passage is considerable but a recent biological feasibility study has identified fish entrainment and mortality as an important knowledge gap. This report summarizes a feasibility study (Phase I) for using hydroacoustic technology for assessing fish entrainment at Wilsey Dam.

The hydroacoustic technology was tested through two fish releases of hatchery Chinook smolts above the dam and concurrent monitoring of the various passage routes with hydroacoustic imagery and passive fishing gear (fyke nets and gillnets). Releases occurred during relatively low flows at the beginning of the juvenile salmonid migration period (mid- April), and during high flows at the peak of the migration period (early May).

Hydroacoustic (split-beam) technology was shown to be feasible at detecting salmon smolts in all regions of Wilsey Dam, with some limitations due to noise levels particularly near the spillway. However, recommended changes to the hydroacoustic equipment configuration and methodology are expected to further improve its ability to detect the passage route of outmigrating smolts. Data indicates that considerable numbers of (likely) target fish pass through the spillway and the active turbine intake, but some also remained milling around in the forebay. Entrainment rates could not be estimated due to uncertainty in the travel path of fish detected, and the inability to characterize fish community assemblage using stationary fishing gear. Recommendations were made to address this issue in future phases of this project.

This project was funded by the Fish and Wildlife Compensation Program on behalf of its program partners BC Hydro, the Province of B.C. and Fisheries and Oceans Canada who work together to conserve and enhance fish and wildlife impacted by the construction of BC Hydro dams.

Environmental Feasibility of Establishing Fish Passage at Wilsey Dam
  This project provided an environmental feasibility assessment for re-establishing fish passage above Wilsey Dam on the Middle Shuswap River. Chinook, Coho and Sockeye salmon historically accessed the river above Shuswap Falls (the current site of Wilsey Dam) and provided for plentiful fisheries for local Syilx and Secwepemc First Nations communities. Wilsey Dam was constructed in 1928 and blocked anadromous and resident fish access to approximately 32 kilometers of Middle Shuswap River. Even though initial drawings showed a fish ladder leading into the spillway channel, the ladder was never built. In the 1970s, Chinook spawner outplants above the dam were initiated to determine the feasibility of re-establishing salmonid populations above the dam. Several outplants have occurred since, followed by successful fry rearing in the river above the dam.

Key points from this assessment are provided below:

  • Installation of a fishway would re-establish access to 32 km of river mainstem and several tributaries for Chinook, Coho, and Sockeye salmon as well as Kokanee, adfluvial Rainbow Trout and Bull Trout from Mabel Lake.
  • A technical engineering design of the fish passage facilities was completed in 2005, outlining details for a vertical slot fishway at an estimated cost of $1.8 million (this estimate needs to be revised to reflect current costs).
  • Substantial cultural, social and economic benefits from re-establishing fish passage have been identified, including revival of First Nations fisheries, additional recreational fishing opportunities, and increased tourism opportunities.

This project was funded by the Fish and Wildlife Compensation Program on behalf of its program partners BC Hydro, the Province of B.C. and Fisheries and Oceans Canada who work together to conserve and enhance fish and wildlife impacted by the construction of BC Hydro dams.


Habitat Complexing (Pool Creation) in Bessette Creek –Phase III

Bessette Creek is the principal tributary of the Middle Shuswap River downstream of the Wilsey Dam.  It provides habitat for Coho Salmon, Chinook Salmon, Sockeye Salmon , Kokanee, Mountain Whitefish , and Rainbow Trout.   Due to agricultural and residential development Bessette creek has shortened by approximately 16% since 1938 and removed side channels that helped relieve high flows.  Sediment deposits, flooding, gravel removal, channel straightening and levee building have resulted in a heavily aggraded stream bed with little large woody debris or pool area which are fundamental to the survival of fish. The accumulation of sand and gravel in this section has caused significant loss of surface flow and the combination of stream loss and irrigation has resulted in intermittent or no flow in this section of Bessette Creek on low flow years. In addition, the wide, shallow structure of the creek contributes to high (lethal) summer water temperatures with no pool refuge areas for fish.

Previous habitat work and bank/channel stabilization has been completed by the Whitevalley Community Resource Centre both upstream and downstream of the proposed project site.

This project will help restore the remaining section in this area. It will be the final phase in the effort to: Create a continuous year‐round surface flow through the deposition area, Reduce the amount of surface flow lost to ground, Prevent the stranding and dewatering of juvenile salmonids that has been occurring during irrigation season, Provide pool areas, instream cover and thermal refuge areas for rearing salmonids, Enhance spawning conditions especially in low flow years and Improve riparian cover Compliment and help maintain previous work done on this reach of Bessette Creek from 1998 to 2011.

This project is a partnerships between Whitevalley Community Resource Centre (WCRC), Secwepemc Fisheries Commission (SFC), Farmland Riparian Interface Stewardship Program (FRISP), Splatsin First Nation and seven landowners.  The project will benefit the agricultural community by allowing upstream irrigators to operate for longer periods of time without stranding or dewatering juvenile salmonids and other fish species.

Project is funded by the Fish and Wildlife Compensation Program on behalf of its program partners BC Hydro, the Province of B.C. and Fisheries and Oceans Canada who work together to conserve and enhance fish and wildlife impacted by the construction of BC Hydro dams.


2011/2012 Habitat Complexing in Bessette Creek – Phase II 

This habitat complexing project is a continuation of efforts initiated by Whitevalley Community Resource Centre (WCRC) and Secwepemc Fisheries Commission (SFC) in 2010, to develop pool habitat and thermal refuge areas in the heavy deposition areas where conditions are poorest. Twenty five habitat structures, placement of boulder configurations, gravel bar stabilization and three infiltration galleries were placed along a 575 m stretch of Bessette Creek at the middle end of the deposition zone. The habitat structures are placed to help direct flow, create scour, and provide in stream cover for juvenile salmonids. The boulder clusters also encourage scouring and diversity of flow as well as provide cover. Using rock to help stabilize the gravel bars will help concentrate low flow into a single continuous stream. Infiltration galleries help recapture some of the water being lost to groundwater and provide cooler water temperatures during the summer’s low flow period, offering potential thermal refuge to salmonids. Monitoring of the in stream works over one or two freshets will allow for an effective performance appraisal.

2010/2011 Habitat Complexing (Pool Creation) in Bessette Creek

This habitat complexing project was initiated by Whitevalley Community Resource Centre (WCRC) and Secwepemc Fisheries Commission (SFC) in an effort to develop pool habitat and thermal refuge areas in the heavy deposition areas where conditions are poorest. Thirty habitat structures, placement of boulder configurations, gravel bar stabilization and three infiltration galleries were placed along a 660 m stretch of Creek at the lower end of the deposition zone. The habitat structures are placed to help direct flow, create scour, and provide instream cover for juvenile salmonids. The boulder clusters also encourage scouring and diversity of flow as well as provide cover. Using rock to help stabilize the gravel bars will help concentrate low flow into a single continuous stream. Infiltration galleries help recapture some of the water being lost to ground and provide cooler water temperatures during the summer’s low flow period.

2009/2010 Lower Creighton Restoration Project

This important salmon stream however experiences extremes in water levels both in the winter and the summer within the lowest kilometer, caused by extreme aggradation from an historical avulsion upstream which introduced significant amounts of bed load materials. In the summer, stream flow would be lost to groundwater within the severely aggraded section. This discontinuous flow caused reduced fish habitat and increased mortality of juvenile parr due to either: a) stranding; b) increased susceptibility to predators; c) exposure to lethal stream temperatures and/or low dissolved oxygen levels due to low waters and peak summer temperatures and; or a combination of these factors. These conditions were exacerbated by water level fluctuations from irrigation, of which are over-licensed for the system. In contrast, summer flooding would also occur even during moderate rains. The aggraded section would force the increased flows into the surrounding agricultural fields, road, and industrial park, washing pollutants back into the stream and likely affecting aquatic organisms. In the winter, anchor ice easily built up within the aggraded section due to the low water levels, again forcing stream flow around the ice mass into the surrounding areas and often flooding the basement of a nearby house (Quibell family).

Since the stream lacks the competency to remove the excess bedload materials within the aggraded section, increased measures targeting the aggraded section were deemed necessary. As such concerned groups partnered on this project with the goal of restoring continuous flow in the aggraded section. This goal was achieved through the removal of gravel from the dry channel, creation of pool habitat, and with the placement of large woody debris and rock structures within the stream channel. To help ensure that flooding did not threaten Lumby’s industrial park, the excess bedload material removed from the creek was used to construct a berm and associated ditch on the outside of the riparian strip on the north side of the stream. Enhancement of the riparian area was also completed by planting White Spruce trees (Picea glauca), Bebb?s Willow (Salix bebbiana) and Red Osier Dogwood trees (Cornus sericea).

Restoration efforts were successful in creating immediate pool habitat which maintained continuous flow throughout the rest of the year; monitoring of its performance will continue in 2010. Winter flooding was also minimized due to the restoration work and allowed most of the flood waters on the Dolman property to return to the creek and thus the road and nearby house (Inglis/Quibell family) were unaffected. Performance of the ditch will improve as the stream continues to down-cut into the aggraded section, and will eventually become unnecessary as less flooding occurs.

2008/2009 Smolt Pond Intake & Duteau Creek Weir Upgrade
Blurton Creek

Middle Shuswap River SEI and TRIM Phase 1
Shuswap/Bessette Riparian Planting & Protection

2005/2006 Creighton Creek Stream Flow Recovery – Phase II

Water use demands are surpassing supply in many areas of the Southern Interior of British Columbia. The extended dry weather has increased the need for irrigation while reducing the water available causing reduced water quality, increased predation, stranding and dewatering of juvenile salmonids. WCRC began the Creighton Creek Stream Flow Recovery Project this year to reduce or eliminate the threat of dewatering and fish kills. The goals of this project were to access the water supply and withdrawals, evaluate local irrigation systems and scheduling efficiencies, provide information and develop a co-operative working relationship with the agricultural community. A major focus of the project was to identify water conservation shortfalls and develop a regime to optimize the water available.
WCRC also worked to:
* Make the public and, in particular, the irrigators aware of the need to conserve,
* Help establish a water users group for Creighton Creek to ensure that all water users were operating within their licenses and abiding by their priority status,
* Ensure that enough water be allowed to pass to meet fish requirements,
* Investigate alternate water supplies including wells, on-site storage and storage in the upper watershed
* Collect flow and withdrawal data on Bessette and Duteau Creeks and
* Improve creek morphology and riparian cover on the worst section of creek to improve fry survival in low water situations.
The results of the work this summer are very positive. Some of these results to date are:
* For the first time in three years, fry salvage was not necessary on lower Creighton Creek. Except for several hours in early July, there was enough flow to prevent stranding and dewatering. This was in part due to timely rainfalls but also because of WCRC’s daily presence on the creeks, changes made within the creek and ongoing contact with the active irrigators.
* Ten flow monitoring sites were set up; staff gauges installed and flow curves established. Temperature and dissolved oxygen data was collected. Wetted widths and wetted perimeters were measured at various flows on a 100 m section of lower Creighton Creek.
* Creighton Creek water licenses exceed the amount of water available. Summer flows are about 4 ft3/s (cfs) while the licensed demand is about 6.75 cfs (based on 100 days of irrigating).
* All active irrigators in the Bessette watershed were made aware that there was a water problem by individual contact and a series of newspaper articles. Two landowners who recently purchased their properties and licenses on Creighton Creek were about to buy new irrigation systems and thankful that they informed of the situation.
* A Streamkeepers course (modules 1-4) was given to encourage stream stewardship.
* Two meetings were held at which 10 of the 20 Creighton Creek water licensees were present. All of the active irrigators were present. The first meeting in August was to discuss the result of the monitoring work and possible solutions to the water shortfall. At the second meeting, Brian Nuttal of Water Management was present to discuss the types of water user groups and water bailiffs.
* WCRC purchased tensiometers to be place on pilot farms to better regulate water use and improve irrigation efficiency. Three sites have been chosen as pilots. One landowner purchased a k-line irrigation system to replace a large reel hose gun. The k-line system was developed in New Zealand to reduce evaporative losses that can exceed 40% with the large guns. WCRC hopes to work with this rancher to determine optimum scheduling and determine water savings and cost comparisons with the reel hose. If the results are positive, they will replace another four reel hoses.
* WCRC is working with one rancher to develop on-site water storage for irrigation as an alternative to using creek water.
* WCRC successfully applied to the Water Supply Expansion Program for funding to determine the water storage capacity in the upper watershed.
* WCRC has been working with the two landowners on the most severely impacted section of Creighton Creek to improve riparian cover and stream morphology. Stranding of juvenile salmonids occurs first on the large riffle areas. WCRC has developed a prescription for introducing rootwads, logs and rock clusters to establish the desired 1:1 riffle-pool ratio for this area. Permits are in place and work is to be done by the landowners with WCRC supervision in the early spring work window. The grade 11 classes from Charles Bloom Secondary School participated in a day of planting in June.
* An irrigation workshop given by Ted van der Gulig will be held in January. An Environmental Farm workshop will be held as soon as they become available.
WCRC would like to continue with this project by:
1. Continuing to develop the Creighton Creek water users group,
2. Assisting and monitoring the pilot farms,
3. Helping landowners to develop alternate or additional water sources,
4. Determining the flow and withdrawals of the major tributaries in to Creighton and Bessette Creeks including Churchill, Harris, Nicklen and Vance Creeks and
5. Continuing with the creek alterations and riparian planting.

  Huwer Groundwater Channel: Phase 11

The purpose of this project is to enhance over 2 km of prime coho rearing habitat by increasing the groundwater flow and reducing negative impacts by livestock.

Site description:
The Huwer groundwater channel consists of a pond that feeds a small year-round creek approximately 2 km long. The flow is comprised entirely of ground water except during freshet (June) when the river is high enough to enter into a remnant channel and flow into the creek at the pond outlet. For the rest of the year, the only connection to the river is at the downstream (north) end of the creek (Figure 1) and the creek has a constant flow of 1.2 ft3/s.

The creek is rearing habitat for Chinook, coho and rainbow trout and is located approximately 8 km downstream of the Wilsey Dam and on the downstream end of the most heavily used spawning grounds on the middle Shuswap River (Arc 2001)  While the majority of chinook fry migrate downstream during the latter part of July, early spring sampling has shown that both coho and rainbow overwinter in the creek.


  Smolt Count

The Procter channel was built in 2002 to provide highly productive rearing and overwinter habit for chinook and coho salmon. This project would evaluate the effectiveness of the project and help track changes in the local coho population by counting the number of smolts emigrating from the Procter Channel. A trap will be constructed based on the design used by DFO and the Shuswap Hatchery with some modifications. The Procter channel was built as overwintering habitat for coho. There were a few areas that were narrow enough to maintain clean spawning beds. However, beavers quickly build dams on these narrow sites. The channel is populated with fry that migrate upstream and are pulled in at the intake beginning in early May. If the standard trap were placed at the downstream end of the channel and the intake closed to prevent smolts from entering the channel from upstream areas from May to mid-June, it would prevent a major portion of the chinook and coho fry from entering the channel. Instead, WCRC proposes to trap not only smolts moving downstream, but fry moving upstream as well.

The traps will be placed at the downstream end of the Procter Channel in April. The traps will be checked a minimum of twice a day and as often as necessary to keep the screens debris free and the traps from being over-crowded. Any fish in the upstream trap will be identified (species), counted, measured and a representative number weighed. The smolts will then be released downstream of the traps. Any fish caught moving upstream will be identified, counted and released into a pond area 20 m upstream of the trap location.

A trap will also be placed at the upstream end of the channel immediately below the settling pond to count and id the fish moving into the channel via the intake. Smolts counted at the upstream end would be released downstream of the intake on the Shuswap River so not to be included in the total count.

2004/2005 Wilsey Dam Passage Feasibility Study Phase 2

WCRC has partnered with Fisheries and Oceans Canada (DFO), the Ministry of Water, Land and Air Protection (MWLAP), BC Hydro, the Okanagan Indian Band, the Spallumcheen Indian Band, the Secwepemc Fisheries Commission (SFC) and the Okanagan Nation Fisheries Commission (ONFC) to develop construction drawings for a fish ladder on the Wilsey Dam at Shuswap falls. Northwest Hydraulics has been contracted to build a scale model to determine the best design and placement for the ladder. The ladder will provide passage for salmon, rainbow trout and bull trout to spawning areas in the upper Shuswap River, Cherry Creek and Ferry Creek. B.C. Hydro’s Bridge Coastal Fish and Wildlife Restoration Program (BCRP) is providing funding for this project.

  Creighton Creek

Water use demands are surpassing supply in many areas of the Southern Interior of British Columbia. Several dry years have lowered the water table while increasing the need for irrigation causing poor water quality, increased predation and stranding / mortality of the juvenile life stage of endangered Fraser coho. This project would reduce or eliminate the threat of dewatering, fish kills and loss of species abundance at various trophic levels in Creighton Creek by working with the agicultural community to develop better water use strategies.

The project will help develop alternate water use strategies by:
* evaluating the water supply and demand, withdrawals, current irrigation systems and schedule efficiencies, soil types and crop demands,
* providing information and
* developing co-operative working relationships with the agricultural community that holds water licenses.
A major focus will be to identify water conservation shortfalls and develop a regime to optimize the water available. This project will also look at the possibility of storage in the upper watershed. The emphasis of this project is on applied recovery action that will result in the re-establishment of prime coho spawning and rearing habitat.
Water demands will continue to increase with the growing population. The climatic trend in the Southern Interior for drier weather with extended shoulder seasons both increases the demand for irrigation while decreasing the snow pack and supply of surface water during the summer months. The potential for conflicts between the agricultural community and fisheries is real and growing. This project will attemp to reconcile this problem before it reaches the confrontational stage by promoting stewardship among the pricipal users. It is anticipated that the results of this project will be a model for other watersheds with fish survival / water use conflicts in the BC interior and elsewhere.
The objectives of this project are to:
* Increase awareness among the community and particularly the larger irrigators that there is a need for water conservation.
* Demonstrate to land owners how water conservation can reduce irrigation demands, be cost effective and positively affect the fish habitat and stream ecology.
* Reduce water withdrawals to increase water available for fish flows and to insure the trend towards increased production of chinook, coho and rainbow trout.
* Lay the groundwork for forming a stewardship group that has the knowledge and tools to manage the water resources, balancing agricultural and fisheries needs

  Huwer Groundwater Channel

The Huwer groundwater feasibility study examined the potential of improving the habitat value of an existing 4 km pond/creek complex by increasing the groundwater flow. While there has been extensive work done in the Middle Shuswap to increase salmon spawning and rearing habitat, this would be the first complex that was completely groundwater fed.
Eight monitoring wells were dug at various locations on the property in May and static groundwater levels measured from pre-freshet to early January. The groundwater levels were compared to the river and pond water surface levels. Temperature and dissolved oxygen levels were also recorded.
The results of the study indicate that there is sufficient head between the groundwater level at the monitoring wells and the pond surface to increase the flow from to approximately of 6 ft3/s by installing infiltration galleries. This increase in flow would improve rearing habitat values by increasing water depth in the pond and creek and by increasing the moderating influence of the groundwater on the stream temperature. It would also increase the potential for spawning especially for kokanee and coho by increasing the flow and velocity in riffle areas.

2004 Middle Shuswap River
2003 Ireland Creek Side Channel

This is the second phase of the Ireland Side Channel Project. The first phase included the construction on the channel and the fencing of the riparian area with a two-fence system. The goal of the second phase included:
· Complexing the channel with rocks, trees and other wood material
· Planting the riparian area with native trees and shrubs
· Ensuring an adequate flow into the side channel by building a riffle to back up water in Ireland Creek and
· Establishing photo points for monitoring the success of the plantings and changes to the channel
These goals were met plus some additional work was done:
· The fence was altered to increase the planting area
· A riffle was constructed on the lower end of the side channel to raise the water level in the channel
· An off-channel waterer was installed
· The sediment pond was cleaned and prepared for easier future maintenance
· The riparian fence was strengthened at high pressure points and metal gates added for better management.

  Bigg Channel

This project was highly successful. It was completed on time, on budget and the results have exceeded the expectations.
Work was slow to begin due to the number of landowners involved and the difficulty of in scheduling meetings. Two of the landowners are non-residents; one living in Germany, so correspondence was time consuming.
Once work got underway in December, construction time was reduced due to the unseasonably warm dry weather and the low water table.
Whitevalley Community Resource Centre (WCRC) involved the landowners in both the planning and construction of the project as much as possible. This not only increased landowner understanding and appreciation of the project, but help to cut project cost as well.
The intake was opened in February. With some minor adjustments, water levels were where they were expected to be. Fry were observed in the top and bottom ends of the channel in mid May. By June, they were seen within a kilometer of either end.
The water in the channel remained clear even when the river began to rise and become turbid. With the intake valve shut, the channel still receives about 2 ft 3 /s of groundwater from the infiltration gallery. The volume of water increases with the length of the channel from additional groundwater.

2002 Cherry Creek

WCRC partnered with the Cherry Ridge Management Society in creating a riparian management zone along North Fork Creek, close to the elementary school. The grade 5/6 class, along with volunteer parents and teachers were involved in collecting and planting willows in the riparian area as part of their environmental studies. Volunteers also helped with the construction of the fence.
The site is used as an interpretive area for the students. The students have been hatching and raising salmon and releasing thr fry as part of their studies. A day of collecting and viewing aquatic invertebrates was planned for the spring (Streamkeepers’ Module 4) with that year’s grade 5/6.

  Wilsey Dam Passage Concepts

The Phase One Feasibility Report (Wilsey Dam Passage Concepts, 2002) of the Wilsey Dam passage project, which was funded by and administered by DFO, focused on an overview of the biological concerns and preliminary physical feasibility of the proposed design options. This report was provided to the various partners that have expressed an interest in the project. These partners include Fisheries and Oceans Canada, Ministry of Water, Land and Air Protection, Whitevalley Community Resource Centre, BC Hydro, Spallumcheen Band, Secwepemc Fisheries Commission, Okanagan Band, and Okanagan Nation Fisheries Commission.

A steering committee of the interested partners has been established and meetings held to determine the level of support and general thoughts as to the next steps to take. The consensus was to initiate a BCRP application for additional work to address any remaining biological questions that came out of the first feasibility report and take the engineering design to the construction drawing stage, including a schedule and cost estimate.

2001 Cherry Creek

WCRC partnered with landowners Rocky Graf and Heather Davis and Terry Lagerquist and Hank Cameron of the Cherry Ridge Preservation Society to fence off 160 meters of riparian area on Cherry Creek. This riparian area will be used by the Elementary school as an interpretive area. This spring the grade 5/6 students collected and planted willow whips along the riparian area.

  Marchant (Teal) Creek

WCRC partnered with Chris Marchant and Allison Warner to enhance a 1.5 km groundwater channel and riparian area on their property. This channel is used by juvenile coho and rainbow for rearing and over-wintering. Work consisted of fencing the creek to prevent degradation by livestock and planting trees and shrubs to provide shade and moderate water temperature.

  Silver Hills Ranch – Upper Shuswap River

This project saw an additional 1400 meters of river and creek bank placed in a riparian management area along the Upper Shuswap River. A 250 meter groundwater channel was developed and a 2.4 km habitat channel previously developed by Silver Hills Ranch was be complexed. Complexing consists of adding woody debris such as logs and roots that offer cover for fish and help to create pools within a creek.

2000 Bessette Creek
Ireland Creek
Shuswap River
1999 Brett Creek

Bret Creek is a low-gradient ground-fed creek that feeds into Harris Creek approximately 500 meters north on the confluence of Creighton and Harris Creeks.

Lower Reach: Marchant property
The riparian corridor of the lowest reach of Brett Creek was fenced in 1998. The landowners allowed a wide riparian corridor of up to 100 meters through their property along Brett Creek. They have since planted with a mixture of conifers and deciduous trees averaging 1.5 meters in height. The trees were protected with plastic vole guards at the time of planting to prevent ringing by rodents in the winter. There appears to be > 90 % survival rate.

Brett Creek is wide and shallow through most of the Marchant property resembling more of a cattail wetland than a creek. The channel is braided and difficult to find in several spots. There was no detectable surface water flowing through the lower end during the warmer parts of the summers of 1999 – 2002. The pools that do not dry up are potential traps.

Sampling during the summer and early winter of 2000 showed that while temperatures are too high during the summer, juvenile coho and rainbow use the lower 300 meters of Brett Creek for winter habitat.

Lower Reach: Hanna property
The northern-most 150 meters of Brett Creek on the Hanna property has been excavated and fenced by WCRC in 1999 in an attempt to increase the flow through the property. Brett Creek is a perennial creek going into the Hanna property but becomes intermittent halfway through the property. Cattle have had full access to the creek and the channel has become indistinguishable in places.

The excavated section was planted with Pacific willow in June of 2000 using 1 meter cuttings with diameters of 5 to 15 cm. There was close to 100 % survival the first year.

Upper Reach: Altwasser/Headington properties
WCRC has done riparian fencing and planting on the upper reaches of Brett Creek. Approximately 500 meters of riparian was fenced and planted on the Altwasser ranch in 1998. Excavation at the uppermost end of the creek was done to increase the ground flow. Cattle access was limited to two watering points and one crossing.

Riparian planting was done at the time of fencing and fill planting done in June 1999.

Survival of the riparian plantings has been poor (~20%). This is partly due to the timing of plantings. Because of the availability of funding and stock, all the plantings were done late in the season (June – July), well past the prime planting time in April. The initial plantings were greatly reduced by desiccation of the willow stock that had been kept in cold storage. This combined with planting in hot, dry weather and no funding for watering all led to the low survival rate. The plants that survived the first year, especially the slower growing conifers were further reduced by weeds, especially thistles.

Thistles quickly come to dominate any disturbed areas. If left undisturbed, the taller weeds out-compete the seedings, leaving them chlorotic and suseptible to insect and fungal infestation. In the winter, these taller weeds fall over and form mats. The seedlings often get buried under these mats and flattened with the weight of snow. These mats make excellent cover for rodents that also prey on the seedlings.

In some cases, the landowner attempts to cut the weeds before they set seed. This also attributes to the high mortality of the plantings. It is extremely difficult to see widely spaced 20 – 30 cm seedlings in dense 2 m thistles.

Because Brett Creek is a low gradient, low velocity groundwater channel, it is unlikely that it will become suitable salmonid habitat until the riparian growth is tall enough to shade the creek. Groundwater temperature is around 8 0 C but warms quickly in the slow moving water in the open sun. Summer temperatures currently exceed 22 0 C.

Sampling in the summer and early winter of 2000, showed coho and rainbow trout have been using only the lowest 400 meters of Brett Creek

  Harris Creek
Ireland Creek
1998 Bessette Creek
Brett Creek
Coldstream Creek
Creighton Creek
Duteau Creek
1997 Bessette Creek
Creighton Creek
Duteau Creek