Columbia Outdoor School educators will lead community members on hands-on field studies of designated areas to collect important data.
Data collected will be used by experts to assist Restore Joseph Creek in identifying and carrying out future projects.
Following is a summary of some data collection and site specific projects undertaken in 2019.
The Joseph Creek Water Analysis and Phase 1 Fishery Action Plan Project was generously funded by the British Columbia Fish & Wildlife Compensation Program, City of Cranbrook, Columbia Outdoor School and Regional District of the East Kootenay and implemented under the guidance and direction of the Columbia Outdoor School as part of the Phase 1 Joseph Creek Water Analysis and Fishery Action Plan.
The development of a comprehensive Joseph Creek Fish Action Plan will help guide the recovery of both Bull Trout and Westslope Cutthroat trout in the Joseph Creek watershed into the future; through water resource management, ecosystem restoration and invasive species removal works in Joseph Creek which is a tributary of the St. Mary River an identified priority stream to meet the needs of the FWCP Streams Action Plan. This project supports the development of that fishery plan by completing a water temperature monitoring program to fill this data gap. It initiated a plan to deal with invasive species at the Idlewild Park location, continued planting of riparian areas with native plant species and initiated a native fish identification and education program.
Water temperature data has been collected and a master water database has been developed. This project represents one of the three critical data gaps identified that require assessment before the development of the larger community initiative to rehabilitate Joseph Creek for native species restoration. This data will be used for future City infrastructure and operational planning.
Education and Outreach in the community have highlighted new management practices and protocols and influenced the development of a pilot program on city owned property. Various documents and tools were created. Educational programming with School District, College and community was developed and presented to engage citizens with the creek and ecological function. A new fish identification and information document was developed for future use highlighting the types of fish that live in the creek, the difference between native and non-native fish species, and the affects non-native fish have on the native populations. It also provides a guide on how to identify the various fish species. An invasives management plan was developed for Idlewild park that has extensions throughout the rest of Joseph Creek. The plan includes information on affects of invasive plants on an ecosystem, management approach, management activities and an action plan for implementation and on-going activities. A youth leadership stewardship program in collaboration with Aq’am community is being developed to build capacity within the communities youth.
Approximately 100 square meters of barren riparian area along the south side of Idlewild reservoir were prepped, planted and seeded by school students with native plants. Invasive plants along the riparian area of the south side of the reservoir were identified and removed. The recently re-developed wetland area was also enhanced with additional plantings, past shrubs were located and competing plants removed, and invasive plants removed.