Indian Creek riparian restoration: phase three
This project’s long-term goal is to restore functional riparian and wetland habitat along Indian Creek. The project is located within traditional hunting, fishing, and gathering areas utilized by the Lower Kootenay Band, which have been heavily impacted by agriculture, grazing, and flood-control activities. Phase three will build on the work completed during phases one and two, and includes planting an area of 0.48 hectares with over 2000 riparian tree and shrub cuttings. Ongoing monitoring of phase one plantings, and new observations of phase three plantings will be conducted, in order to direct future maintenance and treatments, as part of an ongoing adaptive management program.
Update: 865 trees and shrubs planted on two islands
In October 2018, Phase 3 of the project was implemented, which included planting 865 trees and shrubs within Habitat Islands 4 and 5, throughout an area of 1800 m2 along Indian Creek. Two solarization treatment plots were installed to treat Reed Canary Grass and improve the competitive advantage of the plantings. Browse deterrent spray was applied to all plants to prevent ungulate damage. Permanent monitoring plots in Habitat Islands 1-3 were revisited and monitored to ensure that restoration is successful and to provide information for ongoing adaptive management of the site. Repeat estimates of height, area, vigour, and browse was collected for each plant in each plot. Three additional plots were added to increase the number of observations. Though browse pressure remained generally low within Habitat Islands 1-3, overall survival of plantings has declined to 55%. Several factors may be influencing this result, including prolonged inundation during spring high water in 2018, drought during 2017 and 2018, and increased competition from grasses. The project is successful with continued participation by LKB community members. A total of 1.14 ha has been planted with native species during all phases of the project to-date.
Final report: executive summary
The Indian Creek Riparian Restoration project is a multi-phase effort to restore a naturally functioning riparian ecosystem and enhance cultural values along the lower 2 km of Indian Creek. This project aligns with Objective 1 – Sub-Objective 2: “Restore degraded […] riparian habitat”, and Objective 3: “Maintain or improve opportunities for sustainable use”, of the FWCP Columbia Riparian and Wetlands Action Plan (2014).
Indian Creek has significant cultural value to the Lower Kootenay Band for its historic fisheries and associated wetland habitats. The area has been heavily impacted by agriculture, grazing and flood control structures that have resulted in significant modifications to the natural riparian and wetland ecosystems. Restoration of these degraded riparian and wetland habitats will enhance ecosystem function and create important habitat for a variety of fish and wildlife species and cultural plants within Yaqan Nukiy traditional lands.
The target restoration area comprises approximately 7.5 ha of the riparian zone along the lower 2 km of Indian Creek within the Kootenay River floodplain. Habitat Islands 4 and 5, which occur within the wet reed canary grass vegetation unit were the location of the 2018 Phase 3 restoration activities. This unit floods in spring, and the fine textured soils generally remain moist through the summer.
Click the provincial database link below to read the full final report for this project.