Diverting Mission Creek

by Wayne Moore | Story: 137485 – Apr 13, 2015 / 7:00 pm

The City of Kelowna is planning to alter the flow of Mission Creek.

Back in the 1950s, sections of the creek were channelized and diked to prevent flooding. It resulted in a loss of 80 per cent of its spawning habitat and more than 25 per cent of its length.

Agriculture and environment manager Todd Cashin told council Monday the mission of the exercise is to increase fish stocks and restore the sport fishery, protect people and property from flooding and conserve or expand biodiversity and protect species at risk.

“Historically, Mission Creek, in the section between the lake and Casorso Bridge, was 60 to 80 metres wide on average and it was about 30 kilometres long to the lake,” said Cashin. The creek now averages 31 metres in width and is about 11 kilometres in length. “The restoration methodology is, in simple terms, to pick those dikes up and move them back. It would re-establish the floodplain, reconnect any remnant oxbows that still exist and allow the creek banks and riparian vegetation to come back. Allow some of those wetlands to flourish.”

Cashin said the city is looking to acquire 4.04 acres of agricultural land just east of the Mission Recreation Complex as potential for river restoration or dike setbacks. It would be the third piece of property purchased for this purpose, but requires approval of the Agricultural Land Commission. Cashin said engineering students are close to finishing off a dike design. “I am really excited about this project,” Coun. Luke Stack said Monday. “I think it’s a brilliant piece of work that has been many years in the making.”

“This is one of my favourite projects because it is a win on so many levels,” added Coun. Gail Given. “Not just from an environmental perspective, but even from an economic perspective. I believe there is quite a considerable impact to improving fisheries in our lake. It will have economic impact back to us.” Coun. Charlie Hodge called it a classic example of sustainability and sustainable practices.