Awarded initially to the District of Invermere to protect and restore Abel Creek as a healthy riparian stream ecosystem through restoration and stewardship activities; then to the Lake Windermere District Rod and Gun Club to explore options to allow fish to navigate beyond a man-made obstruction that is blocking passage to high quality fish habitat; then to construct a weir in a culvert area of Abel Creek above Westside Road that will raise water levels, making it passable for kokanee and rainbow trout so they can utilize spawning habitat above the culvert.

PROPONENT: Lake Windermere District Rod and Gun Club & the District of Invermere

DESCRIPTION: Abel Creek is a feeder stream of Lake Windermere, crossing under Westside Road immediately north of the junction of Westside Road and Johnston Road just south of Invermere. Abel Creek is known to provide spawning habitat for kokanee and rainbow trout in its lower reaches. In the summer of 2014 a barrier to fish passage located about 70 metres below Westside Road was removed. Immediately following the removal of the barrier, kokanee were observed utilizing new spawning habitat above Westside Road. A second culvert above the Westside Road appeared to be preventing further upstream migration – there is approximately 3 km of excellent fish habitat above the culvert. Neither adult rainbow trout nor kokanee were observed upstream of the culvert during multiple observations during the spring through fall periods over two years. The second part of this project restored fish passage through the culvert by building stone weirs to raise the water level at the culvert outlet and back water the lower section of the culvert.

OBJECTIVE: The overarching objective is to increase the quantity of high quality spawning habitat in Abel Creek for native species within the Columbia River watershed.  The goal was to remove the barriers to fish passage created by the two culverts, which was successfully achieved.  The project provided support for native species suffering from habitat degradation and the introduction and competition from introduced species, overall supporting the goal of maintaining  biodiversity.

PHOTO: Ben Mitchell-Banks