Large-scale creek restoration of Bronte Creek and Mountsberg Creek has begun in Courtcliffe Park in Carlisle, Hamilton, ON with Phase II now underway. This complex, three phase project will result in habitat improvements for the fish, birds and mammals which live in and around the waterways.
The target fish species of this project is Brook Trout, also known as Speckled Trout. Brook Trout are an indicator species of aquatic ecosystem health. Although, they used to live in the Bronte and Mountsberg Creek in Courtcliffe Park they have not been seen in the park in approximately 30 years. Conservation Halton and Trout Unlimited Canada, who are leading this work, are hoping Brook Trout will return to the creek once it has been repaired.
The Phase II work began on February 21 and is expected to be completed by March 31, 2017. During the construction there will be limited access to some trails within Courtcliffe Park.
The initial phase of this environmental restoration project was completed in 2015, by Trout Unlimited Canada who led installation of a spanning bridge over Bronte Creek and removal of a straightened manmade side channel of the Bronte Creek. The Phase II project construction now underway includes installation of a new spanning bridge over Bronte Creek. This bridge, similar to the one installed in 2015, will be a part of the park’s walking path network and will replace existing culverts that are currently backing up water flow and acting similar to a dam. This winter’s creek restoration work will also include repair of the original channel of Mountsberg Creek in the park. Riffle and pool habitat will be installed by construction machinery and an online pond will be retrofitted into floodplain wetland habitat.
This locally and provincial significant project are part of Conservation Halton’s Brookies in Bronte Forever! initiative which aims to stabilize the local population of Brook Trout that is currently in decline. It is also part of Trout Unlimited Canada’s Reconnecting Canada national campaign to remove barriers to fish movement and migration.
The City of Hamilton has been a major supporter of this environmental project and has provided in-kind resources and some financial support. The project’s major sponsors are the Government of Canada, the Government of Ontario, RBC, the Conservation Halton Foundation and Trout Unlimited Canada. Additional support has been provided by Union Gas, the Courtcliffe Park Committee and the local Ted Knott Chapter of Trout Unlimited Canada. If you are interested to get involved in this project stay tuned for upcoming community tree planting opportunities, including Father’s Day Weekend at the Annual Duck Dash and Bronte Creek Family Fun Day.
It is anticipated that Phase III of the project will move forward in the summer of 2017. In this final phase, Mountsberg Creek flows which are currently being diverted into a straightened man-made channel will be returned to their original and newly restored creek channel.
For more information on this project visit the webpage: www.conservationhalton.ca/courtcliffe-park-restoration.