Improving Rainbow Trout spawning habitat at Murphy Creek
Members of the Trail Wildlife Association (TWA)worked with biologists from the Okanagan Nation Alliance and other volunteers to give Murphy Creek Spawning Channel a makeover in 2018.
Murphy Creek, north of Trail, flows into the Columbia River and is important for Rainbow Trout spawning and juvenile rearing. In the early 1990s, a side channel was added to the mainstem to provide better spawning and rearing habitat. In recent years, under the management of TWA’s Rob Frew and Al Mallette, with numerous partners, there have been many changes at the channel. Results are positive, with as many as 74 spawning Rainbow Trout recorded along the 200-metre channel of cascading pools, at one count.
In 2018, the channel intake was given temporary armour to withstand the next freshet. The settling pond at the top of the channel was dredged of accumulated sediment, and the border of the pond was re-contoured to improve safety and access. The spawning channel was raked to remove silt and small woody debris, and a load of river-run gravel is being placed in spring 2019. In addition, 84 native trees — including Trembling Aspen, Douglas Fir, Western Redcedar, and Dogwood — were planted to suppress the further invasion of Black Locust.
More work is planned, including permanent improvements to the channel’s intake and the development of a long-term management plan.