Drumquin Park Restoration
Conservation Halton, in partnership with Milton, is carrying out an ecological restoration project on Sixteen Mile Creek at Drumquin Park, which is located on Britannia Road, near Trafalgar Road in Milton. (Click here to see a Google Map of the Drumquin Park location)
The project objectives are to restore the natural functions of the creek, improve fish habitat quality, remove instream fish barriers, and increase biodiversity in the floodplain. The completed project will see the creek and floodplain returned to more of a natural state, providing a healthier Sixteen Mile Creek watershed for wildlife and Halton residents.
The section of Sixteen Mile Creek within Drumquin Park has changed dramatically over the last 60 years. Historically, Sixteen Mile Creek meandered gently through Drumquin Park with narrow creek banks. Since that time, the channel was straightened and widened, and a weir (dam) was constructed in the creek. The weir created a barrier to fish trying to reach upstream portions of Sixteen Mile Creek and encouraged ponding of the creek upstream.
The portion of creek immediately upstream of this weir was dug out, widened and straightened. The combination of the weir, and change of creek channel shape, created slower flows and ponding compared to unaltered downstream sections of Sixteen Mile Creek. This reduces the type of habitat and stream flow function. The flood¬plain of Sixteen Mile Creek was also altered by human disturbance and changed from being forested to existing as a meadow.
Restoration plans for Sixteen Mile Creek include the removal of two weirs which are barriers to water flow and passage of fish and wildlife. Fish will be able to travel upstream to reach habitat in the upper watershed at times of the year which are inaccessible today, once the weirs are removed. The natural flow of the creek will be restored, improving its health.
The restoration plan will restore the channel shape of Sixteen Mile Creek as it passes through Drumquin Park to a more natural width, depth and path of flow. The restored channel shape will result in a healthy habitat of deep pools and faster flowing water for fish. This will help to stabilize the banks of the creek to reduce erosion and improve the stability of the system to withstand the impacts of climate change related to high flows and low water. The removal of the weir and channel improvements will result in lower surface water temperature, providing cooler water downstream, which is ideal for local fish species.
Finally, restoration plans for the floodplain include the transformation of the cultural meadow to a pit and mound forest, which would have been more characteristic of this area before the land was cleared. Machinery will dig small pits and creating small earth mounds throughout the floodplain and upon completion the area will be planted with native trees. The pits will act as small wetlands, providing habitat for birds and amphibians while also reducing runoff from storm events by holding water. Excess runoff in a storm can cause erosion.