Mission Creek restoration already performing as expected
Phase 1 of the Mission Creek Restoration Initiative (MCRI) is already providing flood protection and environmental benefits, according to project engineer Don Dobson and project coordinator Steve Matthews.
“On April 22nd Mission Creek had an early freshet peak flow of about 67 cubic meters per second,” explains Dobson. “As that flow increased and the water level rose, water gradually overtopped the stream banks where the dike had been removed, allowing water to slowly flow across the floodplain.” As the water level across the floodplain increased, water started to flow back into the main creek channel near the west end of the project area.
“The project performed as expected,” he continues, “with water flowing onto the expanded floodplain near the
upstream end of the project, and flowed back into the creek near the west end. The new dike had water up to the toe of the dike and contained the water on the floodplain as planned.” Whether there will be further flow onto the floodplain this spring will depend upon the flows over the remainder of the freshet.
Matthews says, “it’s great to see freshet flows entering the newly expanded floodplain. The river’s energy is already starting to develop a more naturally functioning floodplain and riparian area, providing the opportunity for deposition of fine sediments that would typically remain within the creek channel. This will improve in-stream gravel quality for spawning kokanee.”
In addition, he says, “the high water levels will initiate development of riparian wetland areas including the two amphibian ponds constructed during vegetation plantings. All of these project outcomes will contribute to improved habitat for Mission Creek fish populations and a wide range of wildlife species utilizing the riparian zone.”