Indian Bay Ecosystem CorporationJanuary 7, 2016
There were likely some wet feet, but thanks to the muscle and dedication of some volunteers things are literally running a lot smoother because of a stream restoration project undertaken by the Indian Bay Ecosystem Corporation.
The project, which received $19,958 in funding from the ASCF, used in-stream structures to minimize a barrier, control the flow of water, and promote pool-riffle creations along 600m of Northwest Brook within the Indian Bay Watershed Management Area.
The project was truly a group effort. IBEC’s team of project staff worked with board members and other community volunteers to remove blockages to fish migration, stabilize a section of the stream bank, and install channel velocity mitigations. This involved the removal of two large beaver dams, the installation of in-stream bank stabilization and channelization structures as well as a low head weir to remove a barrier caused by a perched culvert. These enhancements will help improve fish migration and spawning throughout the length of the brook by deepening the stream beds, removing barriers for fish migration and creating resting pools for salmon and trout populations.
The cleanup will also restore access for salmon and trout to spawning and rearing habitat within the headwaters of Northwest Brook, which is critical to restoring access to Northwest Pond – a lake that has long supported salmon and trout populations.
Past events caused some serious issues for this stretch of the watershed area. Historic logging practices have caused many of the banks to be washed out. A large fire also destroyed the surrounding forest causing an issue with surface water runoff. In order to narrow the stream to its natural stream width a tree deflector was placed along the true left bank.
Thanks to some ingenuity, the tree deflector was created using a single piece of timber which was secured with rebar. Geotextile fabric was then draped over the front of the log and along the stream bottom to reduce the possibility of the water creating an undercut. The fabric and log were then covered in rock to secure the materials and create a ramp in front of the structure to divert high waters and ice.
IBEC staff says it’s still too soon to predict what the overall effect will be, but they can say the weir is working as anticipated and the water levels are being maintained in the culverts. Most of the work that was done was to mitigate issues that occur during low water levels so they won’t be able to make a proper determination on the success until summer 2016.
Overall, the project achieved some impressive results including improving 800 m2 of stream habitat and restoring access to an additional 13 km of streams. Twenty-three volunteers added their efforts to IBEC’s team of project staff to meet their restoration goals.
The ASCF also helped to fund another IBEC project with a $5,000 grant – the Bonavista North Stewardship and Enhancement Project – which involves habitat restoration in Indian Bay Big Pond and Number Two River.
This restoration project removed a portion of the dam that has washed away and was creating a partial steam blockage at the mouth of Indian Bay Big Pond. The removal will increase salmon access to the rest of the watershed.