Strategic Watershed Action Team (SWAT) 2022-2023

by | Apr 5, 2023 | News | 0 comments

Strategic Watershed Action Team (SWAT) 2022-2023
By Sara Jose, Conservation Crew Lead & Data Specialist

The Strategic Watershed Action Team (SWAT) program is a clean water project created to help improve water quality through the development and restoration of natural infrastructure in southern Ontario. Over the last 10 years the program has been run under different funding to meet various program objectives. During the 2022-2023 season, the team implemented low-impact stream rehabilitation measures such as bioengineering, riparian plantings, and stream clean-ups. As well as create in-stream habitat, restore stream meander, and perform community electrofishing surveys. These projects were funded through in-kind donations and supporting grants. The projects completed in 2022-2023 were achieved by working in collaboration with Trout Unlimited Canada Chapters, communities, and partners.

 

Strategic Watershed Action Team (SWAT)

Figure 1: Strategic Watershed Action Team (From left to right: Heidi, Mike, Chris, and Sara)

 

In the 2022-2023 season, the Strategic Watershed Action Team (SWAT) consisted of four members (See Figure 1). The SWAT crew was led by Christopher Borowski, the crew members were Michael McKenzie, Heidi Poca, and Sara Jose. Over the course of the 2022-2023 SWAT season many different project types were completed by the crew. Below is a table featuring the metrics achieved by the SWAT crew this season, and a couple highlighted projects completed by the SWAT crew.

 

Strategic Watershed Action Team (SWAT) season summary

 

The Town Pond Dam Sediment Mat Project:
The Town Pond Dam was a concrete and earthen dam on Armstrong Creek, a tributary of the Rocky Saugeen River. In the spring of 2020, the dam was removed to allow for the connection of the Rocky Saugeen River habitat with the cold-water tributary Armstrong Creek. As the stream continues to carve a path through the sediment left behind from the pond, it has begun to split into multiple channels (See Figure 2). A sediment mat was installed within the left most channel facing downstream. The goal of this mat is to slow the flow and catch the sediment moving through this channel to concentrate flow into one channel. This sediment mat was made using 170 donated Christmas trees that were to TUC, along with wooden stakes and natural twine. This installed sediment mat will assist in defining the centre channel, by increasing flow and scouring the centre channel to improve connectivity (See Figure 3).

 

Strategic Watershed Action Team (SWAT)

Figure 2: Town Pond Dam Site Pre-Sediment Mat

 

Strategic Watershed Action Team (SWAT)

Figure 3: Town Pond Dam Site Post-Sediment Mat

 

Ancaster Creek Wing Deflector:Ancaster Creek is a stream home to various cold-water species. Ancaster creek runs through a forest which has been heavily influenced by human activities causing significant deregulation in flow, over widening of sections, and woody debris jams forming . While some woody debris jams are good, in this context it increases the warming of the creek by slowing the water and causing sedimentation. Some areas were becoming so blocked that flooding was occurring and the stream was rerouting trying to form a new channel (See Figure 4). Clearing woody debris jams is important to the last few surviving cold water species present in Ancaster Creek, who may become locally extinct if they cannot find cool enough water to hide in. SWAT and the Hamilton Conservation Authority were able to restore 3170m2 of stream. Excessive woody debris jams were removed, immediately improving the flow of water, and removing any barriers that prevented fish passage. A wing deflector was also built to improve connectivity and to help create a more defined channel (See Figure 5).

 

Strategic Watershed Action Team (SWAT)

Figure 4: Ancaster Creek Channel Rerouting

 

Strategic Watershed Action Team (SWAT)

Figure 5: Ancaster Creek Post Wing Deflector

 

Trout Unlimited Canada and the Strategic Watershed Action Team would like to extend our sincere thanks to Environment & Climate Change Canada for the opportunity to complete this important work using the EcoAction Community funding grant.

Trout Unlimited Canada is a nonprofit, charitable organization. Donations are tax deductible as allowed by law.