Newly restored creek banks are taking shape along Penticton Creek, as the first restoration project for Penticton Creek hits the halfway point this week.
Construction started Aug. 4, marking the first time concrete was removed proactively from Penticton Creek as part of a showcase project designed to demonstrate what creek restoration can look like. Project goals include restoring fish habitat, maintaining the flood protection and stabilizing creek banks.
“We are so pleased to see the phenomenal progress on this project, as a huge first step in making Penticton Creek more sustainable,” said Penticton Mayor Andrew Jakubeit. “The City of Penticton is grateful for the tremendous support of our partners in this initiative, including the Habitat Conservation Trust Foundation – their financial support has really made this project possible.”
Habitat Conservation Trust Foundation Board member Ian McGregor sees the Penticton Creek project as a potential showcase for future stream restoration projects in the Okanagan. “Restoring historically productive kokanee streams is a major component of the Okanagan Lake Action Plan,” said McGregor. “It’s great to see the City of Penticton taking the lead on a project that will benefit fish populations while simultaneously addressing the needs of Penticton residents.”
This sample project includes a small section (80 metres) of Penticton Creek upstream from the Ellis Street Bridge. This site was chosen to substantially improve fish habitat, as well as address severe maintenance issues and show the community the transformation in a visible area.
Designing a creek bed that safely moves water through the area is important for flood protection, and this has to be considered while balancing elements that create good fish habitat – rearing areas (resting, hiding and feeding zones), spawning grounds, and minimizing velocity and elevation barriers to migration. Fish species that stand to benefit from improved habitat include Kokanee and Rainbow Trout.
The public is invited to check out Penticton Creek restoration in action. The Ellis Street bridge offers an excellent vantage point to watch crews undergo work. For information, visit www.penticton.ca/downtown.
The Penticton Creek restoration project would not have happened without the funding and contributions of several agencies: Habitat Conservation Trust Foundation, Fisheries and Oceans Canada, Province of B.C., South Okanagan Similkameen Conservation Program, Freshwater Fisheries Society of B.C., Okanagan Nation Alliance, TD Friends of the Environment Foundation, Penticton Flyfishers and Downtown Penticton Association.