Wild Goose Creek
In July 1997, severe flooding occurred on the lower reaches of Wildgoose and Blind Creeks; washing out roads and railways and scouring the stream channels. The year following the flood, MNR contracted a consultant look at the lower reaches of both creeks to determine where our efforts at habitat improvement should be directed. On Wildgoose Creek, the culvert under the CNR rail bed had been severely perched for many years. The 1997 flood exacerbated the problem. Mitigating the problem was one of the top priorities identified by the consultant.
MNR contacted CN Rail to bring our concerns with their crossing to their attention. The crossing was also a concern to CN, as there was a risk of future wash-outs and closure of the rail line.
Large Scale Imporovements
In September of 2002, CN Rail replaced the two existing culverts with three larger culverts that would be able to pass future flood flows. At the same time, the culvert elevations were lowered as much as possible to improve fish passage. A bedrock outcrop under the rail line and a very restrictive time line for closing the rail line were major challenges; however, the culverts were installed significantly lower than they were previously. During the work, MNR had a consultant on site to provide advice on channel improvements up and downstream of the tracks to facilitate fish passage. This included creating a pool on the downstream side by building a check dam to hold back water. The ideal configuration for the stream channel could not be obtained due to the steep stream channel gradient, the close proximity of buildings and the tight time lines. Follow-up work will be required to stabilize the works and ensure they are functioning properly. We are confident, ,however, that rainbow trout will be able to negotiate the crossing effectively for the first time in many years. MNR would like to thank CN Rail, the Township of Shuniah and local property owners for their cooperation in improving fish habitat at this site.
Smaller scale work has also been done on the creek in the last two years. In 2001, members of the NSSA spent a day working downstream of the CN tracks on Wildgoose Creek installing deflector and â€˜digger' logs. These structures work with the stream current to help re-establish a healthy stream channel morphology. This will improve cover for migrating adult as well as juvenile fish.
During the summer of 2002, a five member summer Stewardship Ranger crew, spent a day removing a blockage from the stream channel downstream of Highway 11/17. The blockage was formed by a culvert which had been dislodged during the flood of 1997 and had been wedged across the stream channel, causing a build-up of debris and bank erosion.
For 2003, funding is being sought to continue with the implementation of the projects recommended in the consultants' report. These include assessing and improving fish passage on Wildgoose Creek upstream of Lakeshore Drive, where the channel has been scoured to bedrock, creating several small falls where migration will be difficult. Assessment of the channel condition on Blind Creek may also be carried out.