Spawning & Rearing Channel Restoration
Murphy creek is historically an important Rainbow trout (Oncorhynchus mykiss) spawning stream in the Columbia River system. It is located apporximately 7 km north of Trail, BC, adjacent to the Birchbank Golf Course.
The stream flow characteristics and man-made barriers of the main Murphy Creek channel provide limited access to good spawning habitat. Since the mid-1980's, the TWA and partners have created and maintained a 200 m long side channel for additional spawning and rearing habitat.
Over the years and with support from numerous funding agencies and volunteers, a series of step pools containing spawning gravel and natural cover provides the type of habitat essential to the survival of Rainbow trout.
Regular maintenance activities are required to maintain the ecological value of the spawning channel. Activities such as freeing debris from the intake structures, adding spawning gravel and in-stream cover, and dredging silt from the settling pond have to be done on a regular basis. In some years, the unreliable intake system has resulted in low flows and exposed spawning habitat during the critical spawning season.
In 2012 and 2013, the Trail Wildlife Association formed partnerships with Environment Canada, the Fish and Wildlife Compensation Program, the Okanagan Nation Alliance and local businesses to restore the spawning and rearing habitat of the channel.
Spring 2013 included surveys for Rainbow trout utilizing the side channel for spawning. The water temperature of the channel was also monitored throughout this period. The survey data is currently being compiled into a report.
Water resource engineers from Kerr Wood Leidal are designing a new water intake structure to replace the existing intake. This will ensure reliable, manageable water flows into the channel. Once the design is finalized and approved by the stakeholders, the new intake structure will be constructed this Fall (2013).
Important on-the-ground projects such as this would not be possible without support from our partners and volunteers. If you would like to get involved, we are always looking for interested participants.