SCEC works towards enhancing, preserving and restoring riparian areas along Stoney Creek. Riparian areas refers to the corridor of vegetation adjacent to the stream. In healthy streams the riparian areas may support the growth of shrubs, grasses, trees, mosses, ferns and other greenery. Riparian vegetation stabilizes stream banks and provides shade which cools the water. Loss of native vegetation leads to less favourable conditions for fish and other aquatic life. Identification of native plants help in planning effective re-planting programs.
Invasive Plants Removal
Plants and animals that have been introduced from other parts of the world into new habitats have the potential to become “invasive,” meaning that they thrive without the control of natural predators that otherwise keep their populations in check with the ecosystem. As a result, they often outcompete native species in the areas where they are introduced. In Stoney Creek the following species are present:
- English Ivy (Hedera Helix)
- Himalayan Blackberry (Rubus discolor)
- Japanese Knotweed (Polygonum spp. – Fallopia japonica)
- Yellow Archangel (Lamiastrum galeobdolon)
- Periwinkle (Vinca minor) and
- Policeman’s Helmet (Impatiens glandulifera)
Invasive plants on riparian slopes can spread downstream. But, while unwanted, they can keep sediment from eroding into the water.
In August 2012. Fisheries and Oceans Canada along with community partners built three rock weirs on Stoney Creek. A weir is a low barrier across a stream to control the flow of water and to allow salmon to move easily upstream to spawn. Gravel added behind the weirs significantly increased the amount of spawning habitat in Stoney Creek.
The success of the project was proven when Chum salmon were recorded spawning in the new gravel above the weirs. Some people think the improved access may have accounted for some of the record-high count of spawning.
In 2010, Jennifer Atchison received a $10000 Hungerford Award for her dedication to Stoney Creek. The Pacific Salmon Foundation added funds for the pond restoration project and for constructing the weirs. The off-channel juvenile rearing pond was upgraded to improve water flow during drier times.
43 volunteers with SCEC and the Lower Mainland Green team replanted the areas disturbed by construction as part of the celebration of BC Rivers Day, 2012.