On Friday, September 7 the next step in the Restore Joseph Creek Project took place at Idlewild Park. Three fish habitat structures were installed in the lake. These structures consist of a log attached to a large rock and they provide shelter for juvenile fish species as well as food sources, as food begins to grow on the logs.
“The way that we’ve structured them we’re also hoping that they’ll become turtle sunning logs for the western painted turtles that currently reside here,” said Todd Hebert, executive director with the Columbia Outdoor School. “So we’re sort of hitting two birds with one stone.”
This installation represents the last phase of the first phase of the overall restoration project, which is a collaboration between the City of Cranbrook, the Columbia Outdoor School and the Ktunaxa First Nation’s fisheries program.
“[It’s a] real strong partnership between the three of us to make this happen and we’re really happy to have that partnership occurring,” Hebert said.
Hebert explained that one of the primary objectives they are currently dealing with is a fish plan for the entire creek.
“So we’re working right now on what that plan might look like, what it might incorporate, what are some of the barriers for fish in the creek,” he said. “Our ultimate goal if it’s possible is to bring the west slope cutthroat [trout] back into the creek which is the native species of fish in this creek and so ultimately that’s what we’d like to see, but we’d need a number of things to change first, habitat wise.”
There are some invasive species of fish in the creek that they need to deal with as well, so the project’s fish plan will help us lay out the projects and objectives over the coming few years to get the fish back into the creek.