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Report: Murphy Creek Spawning Channel Maintenance and Monitoring 2018-19 - COL-F19-F-2768

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Activities at the spawning channel in 2018 included monitoring of the spawning channel during freshet, Rainbow Trout spawner and redd monitoring, dredging of the sediment settling pond, armoring of the barrier wall around the intakes, riparian planting, routine maintenance within the spawning channel (raking of gravels and removal of large woody debris), and community involvement.

Author:  Duncan, A.; Mallette, A.

Old Reference Number:  COL-F19-F-2768

Old Reference System:  FWCP Fish Wildlife Compensation Program - Columbia

Date Published:  Apr 2019

Report ID:  57437

Audience:  Government and Public

Murphy Creek is a primary tributary to the Columbia River located 7 km north of the City of Trail, British Columbia. Murphy Creek is a fish-bearing stream that was fragmented with the installation of a highway culvert considered a barrier to fish passage. As such, a resident Rainbow Trout population now exists above the highway culvert, and approximately 500 m of habitat is available below the highway culvert for migrating Rainbow Trout spawning and rearing. In an attempt to increase spawning and rearing habitat below the highway culvert on Murphy Creek, the Trail Wildlife Association (TWA) built a spawning channel adjacent to Murphy Creek in 1992. The spawning channel inlet has been upgraded since the initial installation and is now comprised of 2 intakes embedded in a composite barrier wall adjacent to a plunge pool below the highway culvert. Water levels into the spawning channel can be manipulated through the intakes. The spawning channel begins at the outlet of a small reservoir used by the Birchbank Golf Course for irrigation. The reservoir acts as a sediment settling pond for inflowing water above the spawning channel. The spawning channel is 225 m long and consists of 23 pools in a step-pool morphology. Activities at the spawning channel in 2018 included monitoring of the spawning channel during freshet, Rainbow Trout spawner and redd monitoring, dredging of the sediment settling pond, armoring of the barrier wall around the intakes, riparian planting, routine maintenance within the spawning channel (raking of gravels and removal of large woody debris), and community involvement. This project was funded by the Fish and Wildlife Compensation Program in alignment with their streams Action Plan Habitat-based Priorities. A total of 120 Rainbow Trout spawners were counted in the spawning channel during biweekly surveys from May 23 - June 28, 2018. This is consistent with spawner counts in previous years. Water temperatures were monitored during spawner counts and were lower compared to water temperatures in 2013 - 2017. Ninety-five plants were planted in the riparian zone surrounding Murphy Creek in August 2018 by the ONA, TWA and volunteers. The TWA also led a site visit with Seven Summits Secondary School and an in-class presentation at Stanley Humphries Secondary as part of the community education and involvement initiatives. The sediment settling pond was dredged on November 30, 2018. An archaeological assessment and preliminary field reconnaissance were conducted prior to the in-water works, and no archaeological sites were identified. A fish salvage was also conducted prior to dredging and a total of 33 Rainbow Trout juveniles were removed from the settling pond and relocated into the spawning channel. High water levels in spring (late April / early May) at the spawning channel resulted in displacement of boulders and erosion around the intakes downstream of the highway culvert. It is recommended that the intakes undergo further restoration and armoring to better protect against high spring flows and avoid damage to the spawning channel. Other recommendations include conducting a geomorphological assessment on Murphy Creek to determine the effects of upstream logging on flows and to construct a secondary spawning channel downstream of the existing spawning channel outlet on the river-right bank.

Report Type
  Fish and Aquatic Habitat Information
 
Subject
  Fish and Fish Habitat - Channel Assessment
  Fish and Fish Habitat - Restoration
  Fish Species - Rainbow Trout - Oncorhynchus mykiss
  Region - Kootenay
  Program Specific Area - Kootenay Compensation Program
 


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