Awarded to the Friends of Windermere Creek & Lake Windermere Rod and Gun Club to determine the technical feasibility of re-routing water to the upstream wetland of Windermere Creek to reduce extreme flooding and increase ecological value of the wetland.

PROPONENT: Friends of Windermere Creek & Lake Windermere Rod and Gun Club

DESCRIPTION: Recent extreme flow events (2011 and 2020), possibly due to climate change, have resulted in changes to Windermere Creek morphology, hydrology, sedimentation downstream and the historic role of existing wetlands. Of notable concern is the changed creek routing around the existing wetlands, east of the Windermere Loop Road. Some remedial work in 2012 was able to temporarily route most of the creek back into the wetlands with good results until the freshet of 2020. Both the 2011 and the 2020 freshets resulted in scouring of a new channel down to the existing tufa bedrock, extreme sediment flow to the lake, increased flow velocity, increased turbidity, culvert undercutting and erosion of vegetation on the creek banks. The net result is an environment that is hostile to fish migration.

OBJECTIVE: This project will fund a study of Windermere Creek with a focus on the feasibility of eventual restoration of habitat for native fish and wildlife species. This study would be the first step in the eventual remediation of Windermere Creek as an important link in the recovery and restoration of critical habitat for targeted species at risk such as the Westslope Cuthroat Trout (WCT), a species listed under Schedule 1 of other federal Species at Risk Act (SARA).The study will look at the valuable role that the Windermere Creek wetlands have played in terms of stream turbidity, stream velocity and discharge, aquifer recharging and native species habitat, as well as water conservation and quality. Included in the study will be recommendations establishing the goals, objectives and activities to restore the creek to a healthy, stable ecosystem, while addressing the needs of irrigation stakeholders and other interests.

PHOTO: Christine DuBois