Lowville Park is located in the middle reaches of the Bronte Creek watershed in the town of Lowville, which is part of the City of Burlington, Ontario. The site is a popular park receiving thousands of visitors a year. Just over a kilometre of Bronte Creek is located within the park boundaries. Through misuse, Bronte creek had widened up to 150% and became shallow with a uniform single habitat type not suitable to diverse fish communities. During the summer there was barely enough water for a minnow to swim.
TUC’s work to restore Bronte Creek’s natural functions included rebuilding the stream banks and removing Gabion Basket walls. The project aimed to restore habitat variability by installing 7 riffle crests and digging 3 pools to more natural depths in order to help the stream re-establish natural channel form and features. Stream-side vegetation was installed to hold the soil in place with the roots, to provide shading for the creek and a natural stream bank corridor for many terrestrial species.
The work entailed the creation of seven riffles and the re-sculpting of three pools along a reach of slightly over a kilometer. The work was to help the river redefine the entire reach and to provide the river with sufficient energy to narrow itself and rebuild habitat complexity.
The project was to be completed all at once. Due to weather however, the work was split over two years with 2/3 being completed in year one and the last 1/3 completed the following year.
The construction crew started at the upstream end of the property and worked their way downstream using a combination of riffle creation, channel narrowing, bioengineering and pool restructuring within the typical natural characteristics of the reference reach in an undisturbed section of the river as laid out by the engineer/geomorphologist designer.
Following the construction, stream-side plantings of over 6,500 shrubs and trees, spread over several years, increased the shoreline vegetation along Bronte Creek.
After completion of the major work, seventeen signs were distributed throughout the park, including one major sign recognizing the project partners, eleven nature interpretive signs and additional signs showing the reaches prior to work. In total, over 1450 people participated in workshops and family learning events. 743 students were involved. 533 volunteers contributed over 1,759 hours of work to the project.
The project was completed in 2012. The Ted Knott Chapter is working on smaller projects that will continue to help narrow other reaches of the stream using simple natural structures to capture sediment and continue to build new banks.
Ted Knott Chapter of Trout Unlimited Canada, City of Burlington, Conservation Halton, and Hamilton-Halton Watershed Stewardship Program
This project has been undertaken with the financial support of the Government of Ontario’s Ministry of the Environment, the Government of Canada’s Department of the Environment, the City of Burlington, RBC, TD Friends of the Environment Foundation, Canadian National Sportsmen’s Shows, Conservation Halton, the Hamilton-Halton Watershed Stewardship Program, ArcelorMittal Dofasco and Trout Unlimited Canada’s Ted Knott Chapter and Coldwater Conservation Fund.