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Natural flows returned to Mountsberg Creek in Carlisle’s Courtcliffe Park

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The Courtcliffe Park Restoration Project reached another significant milestone with the completion of Phase 3 of the multi-phase creek restoration project on Friday, July 14. The signature feature of Phase 3 has seen the flows of Mountsberg Creek returned to its original creek channel. An earthen berm which directed flows into a man-made straightened channel was removed.

The traditional, natural channel of Mountsberg Creek was restored in winter 2017 improving habitat features for fish with riffles, pools, cover logs and boulders. As part of the work last week, Conservation Halton staff working with Trout Unlimited Canada rescued approximately 5,000 fish from the straightened channel and transferred them back into the restored Mountsberg Creek.

This important restoration work was made possible with the help of project funders and community partners. Thanks go out to funders Union Gas, the Government of Canada, Royal Bank of Canada and the Conservation Halton Foundation. Thanks as well to project partners Trout Unlimited Canada (TUC), the City of Hamilton, the Courtcliffe Park Committee and the Ted Knott Chapter of TUC.

Conservation Halton will be looking for some volunteers for community work day opportunities to help with tree planting in the upcoming months. The information will be posted on the Courtcliffe Park Restoration Project webpage. These plantings will put the finishing touches on the Courtcliffe Park Restoration Project. They will include creek side plantings to increase shade and vegetation along Mountsberg Creek, wetland plantings in newly created floodplain wetland features, and tree plantings where the straightened channel was filled in.

About Courtcliffe Park Restoration Project

The Courtcliffe Park Restoration Project included three primary phases with the work being done between 2015 and 2017. The project’s objective was habitat improvements for the fish, birds and mammals which live in and around the waterways which run through Courtcliffe Park.

The initial phase was completed in 2015, with Trout Unlimited Canada leading installation of a spanning bridge over Bronte Creek and removing a straightened manmade side channel of Bronte Creek.

The Phase 2 project construction was completed in February and March of 2017. It included installation of a new spanning bridge over Bronte Creek and two spanning bridges over Mountsberg Creek. These bridges, similar to the one installed in 2015, are part of the park’s walking path network and replace existing culverts that were backing up water flow and acting similar to dams. The creek restoration work also included repair of the original channel of Mountsberg Creek in the park. Riffle and pool habitat was installed by construction machinery and an online pond was retrofitted into floodplain wetland habitat.

The final phase of the project, Phase 3, was completed in July 2017 and saw the full flows of Mountsberg Creek, returned to their original and newly restored creek channel. The completion of this phase marked the completion of the major works to be done at Courtcliffe Park. In the coming years there will be on-going community workdays to complete small scale creek improvements through hand labour techniques.

This locally and provincial significant project is part of Conservation Halton’s Brookies in Bronte Forever! initiative, which aims to stabilize the local population of Brook Trout which is currently in decline. To learn more or get involved visit the Brookies in Bronte Forever! webpage. It is also part of Trout Unlimited Canada’s Reconnecting Canada national campaign to remove barriers to fish movement and migration.

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 that Brook Trout will eventually return to the creek as it heals over time.

For more information on this project visit the Courtcliffe Park Restoration Project webpage