Work begins on new dike for Mission Creek restoration in Kelowna

FILE -- Cyclists ride past the swollen Mission Creek by Spiers Road, in this file photograph. The first phase of the Mission Creek Restoration Initiative began this week with the closing of the creek’s south dike between Casorso Road and Gordon Drive.

KELOWNA - City crews have taken the first step in reversing decades of misguided management of Mission Creek in Kelowna.

The first phase of the Mission Creek Restoration Initiative began this week with the closing of the creek’s south dike between Casorso Road and Gordon Drive, according to a city media release.

With creek waters running low, the south dike will be “scalped” to within 40 centimetres of current creek levels. The material will be used to build the new 570-metre long dike, widening the channel width from 40 to 150 m.

The new dike is designed to withstand a 1-in-200 year flood and will be built to provincial government standards. It will require approximately 9,000 square metres of sand, clay and gravel, material which will be recycled from the old dike.

Trees and vegetation removed during the dike foundation preparation will be used to revegetate the newly expanded floodplain once the dike is complete.

Four “meander notches” will be constructed along the length of the new channel. These pools, shaded by strategically placed trees, will improve reproduction and spawning for rainbow trout, kokanee and mountain whitefish.

Extensive channelization during the last century, primarily for flood control, saw the lower portion of Mission Creek shortened from 30 kilometres to 12 km, speeding up creek flow and destroying fish habitat.

Dike construction will be complete by the spring with environmental restoration scheduled for the summer of 2016.

To contact the reporter for this story, email John McDonald at jmcdonald@infonews.ca or call 250-808-0143. To contact the editor, email mjones@infonews.ca or call 250-718-2724.

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