Location

Courtcliffe Park is located in the headwaters portion of the Bronte Creek watershed. It is located in the Town of Carlisle which is part the City of Hamilton, Ontario. The site was formerly a trailer park with a bad reputation in the community. Once it became municipally owned a plan was put in place to restore the park including the formation of the Courtcliffe Park Committee. Trout Unlimited Canada became a partner to help with the efforts to restore Bronte Creek as the former owner had diverted the creek channel, dug in-stream ponds and installed undersized culverts for the crossings.

Details

The project goals included, restoring Bronte Creek’s natural functions by removing the channel diversions, the in-stream ponds and replacing the culverts with bridges to improve connectivity. These actions will improve and increase the available habitat for all river creatures within and beyond the park. This, along with the rest of the rehabilitation efforts in the park, will turn this once maligned place to an environmental showpiece.

The Courtcliffe Park project was broken down into three phases

Phase 1 was the removal of the lower-most channel diversion returning all of Bronte Creek’s flows back into its original channel. An active but poorly designed diversion was filled in and closed and the original channel was re-established by removal of a pair of perched culverts and replacing them with a span. The in-filled diversion channel was redesigned as part of the floodplain of the river and two floodplain pools were created as part of the rehabilitation effort. These vernal pools in the section of filled in channel have dramatically increased amphibian and vegetative biodiversity.

Phase 2 will replace the culvert crossing at the upstream end of the park with a new bridge to span the creek. Native vegetation will be planted along the restored banks.

Phase 3 plans to divert Mountsberg Creek a tributary of Bronte Creek back into its natural channel and well-connected flood plain. Presently, it is in an artificial channel that is down cutting and has little access to a floodplain. This phase will add approximately 100m of stream habitat back to the creek. The diversion channel will be plugged and the upper 2/3rds will be filled in, with the lower third remaining as a backwater wetland off Bronte Creek.

What’s Next

Phase 1 was completed in 2015. Phase 2 is slated to occur in the summer of 2016. The aim is to also implement Phase 3 at the same time as Phase 2, otherwise, it will be planned for summer 2017.

Partners and Sponsors
Partners
Phase 1

Ted Knott Chapter of TUC
Conservation Halton
Courtcliffe Park Committee
City of Hamilton

Phase 2 and 3

Ted Knott Chapter of TUC
Conservation Halton
Courtcliffe Park Committee
Stantec
City of Hamilton

Funders
Phase 1

RBC Bluewater Fund
Union Gas
DFO RFCPP

Phase 2 and 3

RBC Bluewater Fund
Union Gas
Great Lakes Guardian Community Fund
Hamilton Watershed Stewardship Program