To efficiently inventory and map Louis Creek, Ecoscape Environmental Consultants Ltd. (Ecoscape) conducted a Sensitive Habitat Inventory Mapping (SHIM) in the fall of 2022. The data collected during this process will be used for the preliminary stream assessments, focusing on identifying areas along Louis Creek that require remediation, restoration, and/or enhancement due to identified impacts or impairments.
As part of their broader initiatives, Simpcw is dedicated to restoring and protecting all séwllkwe (water) within their territory. This includes enhancing fish habitat, improving riparian areas, and enhancing slope stability. Louis Creek has been identified as one of the key areas of focus within the Natural Resource Department’s six directives, which encompass water, medicine, cultural uses, wildlife, archaeological considerations, and Símpcwemc values.
Archaeological surveys have uncovered evidence of the historical presence of Símpcwemc in Louis Creek, revealing winter sites and cache pits. Presently, the Símpcwemc community celebrates the significance of salmon through events like Coho Day and the Raft River First Fish Ceremony. Moreover, the nation actively engages in safeguarding the fisheries’ integrity through ongoing stream walks, red surveys, selective fish harvesting, and various other programs managed by the Dunn Creek Hatchery.
The specific objectives include:
- Preliminary Stream Assessments: This step involves assessing the current state of the stream, including water quality, flow patterns, and habitat conditions. It helps identify areas that require restoration or enhancement and informs subsequent planning and monitoring efforts.
- Stream Habitat Restoration Plan: Based on the findings from the preliminary assessments, a comprehensive plan is developed to restore and enhance the stream’s habitat. This plan outlines specific actions and strategies to improve water quality, fish habitat, riparian areas, and overall stream health.
- Monitoring Plan Development: A monitoring plan is created to track the progress and effectiveness of the stream habitat restoration efforts. This plan includes determining the key indicators and parameters to be monitored, as well as the frequency and methods of monitoring.
- Pre-Construction Monitoring: Before any construction or restoration activities begin, pre-construction monitoring is conducted. This involves assessing the existing conditions of the stream and surrounding areas to establish baseline data. It helps ensure that the restoration works are appropriately designed and implemented.
- Stream Habitat Restoration Works: The actual restoration activities are carried out as outlined in the restoration plan. These may include activities such as stream channel stabilization, riparian planting, erosion control measures, and fish passage improvements. The goal is to improve the stream’s habitat and ecological function.
- Post-Construction Monitoring: After the restoration works are completed, post-construction monitoring is conducted to evaluate the success of the restoration efforts. This monitoring helps assess the effectiveness of the restoration actions, identify any issues or challenges, and inform any necessary adjustments or additional measures.
- Community Engagement: Throughout the entire process, community engagement plays a crucial role. It involves actively involving and informing the local community, including the Símpcwemc, about the stream restoration project. Community engagement fosters collaboration, understanding, and support for the restoration efforts, and it may involve public meetings, workshops, education programs, and ongoing communication with stakeholders.