Courtcliffe Park Restoration

This complex restoration project is resulting in habitat improvements for Brook Trout and other native cold water fish species which live in Bronte and Mountsberg Creek. The creek is being returned to a more natural state like it would have looked prior to the disturbance to the site. You can see a map of the project here.

The Courtcliffe Park Restoration is a Brookies in Bronte, Forever! project.

Location

Courtcliffe Park is located in the community of Carlisle in the City of Hamilton; 159 Carlisle Road, Carlisle, Hamilton, ON, L0R 1H0. Click here for Google Map of Courtcliffe Park

History and Background

Courtcliffe Park was acquired by the Town of Flamborough (now City of Hamilton) in 1997. Prior to municipal ownership, the Park was a seasonal camping area and campground, and prior to that, the land was used for agriculture. The natural features on the property have endured many alterations over years to the detriment of the environment and the wildlife that use it.

With the Town’s acquisition of the property came the formation of the Courtcliffe Park Committee, a volunteer community committee dedicated to the restoration of the property. Working with the City of Hamilton and Conservation Halton they have been able to restore grassland, forest and wetland habitat in the park as well as establish a network of walking trails and wildlife boxes.

In 2015, Trout Unlimited Canada led the implementation of the first phase of creek restoration works in the park. They replaced two undersized creek crossings with an arch style span bridge and decommissioned a straightened bypass channel that had been previously installed.

In 2015 and 2016, Conservation Halton, Trout Unlimited Canada and the Courtcliffe Park Committee have been working to install sediment mats in over widened sections of Bronte Creek. These features are composed primarily of used Christmas trees that are secured to the creek bank and capture sediment that is flowing down the stream. This work has been completed with volunteer contributions from Niagara College, Scouts Canada and the Ted Knott Chapter of Trout Unlimited Canada. This work will carry for the next few years as the creek continues to return to a more natural condition.

In 2017, Conservation Halton, Trout Unlimited Canada, the City of Hamilton and the Courtcliffe Park Committee removed three undersized culverts and replaced them with spanning bridges. This allowed Bronte Creek and Mountsberg Creek to flow under the park’s walking path uninhibited. The previous culverts were backing up flow, contributing to park path flooding and hindering the natural processes of the creek. With these new spanning bridges installed we will see an improvement to water quality and creek habitat benefitting aquatic plants and animals. In 2017 Mountsberg Creek was returned to its original channel. It had previously been diverted into a straightened man-made channel in the park. It’s return has increased the amount creek habitat in the park and restored the natural creek form and functions. Through this process the park’s concrete swimming pool was restored into a floodplain wetland feature, improve habitat for frogs, turtles and birds.

2019 Restoration Plans

Most aspects of the project have been successfully completed. However, we are still working in and around Bronte Creek to help improve the cold-water system. In 2019, we will be focusing on installing sediment mats in over widened sections of the creek. Where necessary, we will strengthen previously installed sediment mats and increase creek side vegetation cover. We build sediment mats from old Christmas trees and secure them to the bank to capture sediment flowing downstream. This effort will help narrow the creek channel and with time, deepen the channel which will restore a cold-er water temperature and improve water quality.

What can you Expect to Enjoy when the Project is Complete?

Picture of Courtcliffe Span Bridge Updated bridge and trail infrastructure – That means bridges like the one shown here that don’t hold back creek flows allowing the creek to function properly as well as have capacity for flooding
Picture of Brook Trout in human hands Improved recreational fishing opportunities – In a few years it is our hope that you’ll be able to come to Courtcliffe Park to catch and release beautiful Brook Trout that still live in Bronte Creek, but not in the sections of Bronte Creek and Mountsberg Creek in the park.
Picture of green frog

Healthy environmental conditions – Healthy wetlands with happy amphibians and insects, tree and shrub lined creeks and cold, clean water.

The project is being completed in partnership with:

Conservation Halton, Trout Unlimited Canada, City of Hamilton, Courtcliffe Park Committee 

 Conservation Halton logoTrout Unlimited Canada logoCity of Hamilton logo

The project is being funded and/or received in-kind contributions from:

The Government of Canada, the Government of Ontario, RBC Bluewater, Conservation Halton Foundation, Union Gas, Trout Unlimited Canada and the City of Hamilton.

Government of Canada wordmark  Province of Ontario logo  RBC Blue Water Project logo  Conservation Halton Foundation logo    Trout Unlimited Canada logo  City of Hamilton logo

The project has been designed by:

Water’s Edge Environmental Solutions Team

Water’s Edge logo

Interested in becoming a project funder?

Click here for details about the Stewardship Sponsorship Program.

Courtcliffe Park Restoration Project News: