Ecological Restoration Post Project Appraisals of Stoney Creek, Burnaby, British Columbia

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This is a collection of post project appraisal reports on the the ecological restoration projects undertaken on Stoney Creek, Burnaby, BC. These studies were conducted, and subsequent reports written, by students in SFU's School of Resource and Environmental Management.

Water Quality of Stoney Creek and its Effects on Salmon Spawning

Peer reviewed: 
No, item is not peer reviewed.
Date created: 
2013-04
Abstract: 

Runoff water in urban streams possesses a major threat in salmon spawning. This has been the effect on Burnaby BC's, Stoney Creek. Sample water was retrieved at four sites, with two along Stoney Creek (sites 1 and 4) and two tributaries further upstream (sites 2 and 3). To begin our research we had formulated the hypothesis that tributaries would have lower dissolved oxygen content due to no remediation efforts being applied and downstream sample sites would have higher levels of pollutants due to road runoff accumulation. Multiple means in determining water quality of Stoney Creek were employed; in-stream water quality tests for dissolved oxygen (DO), pH, and temperature were determined using a DO, and pocket pH meter. Water samples were also obtained from each site and were further analyzed for phosphorous, ammonium and chemical oxygen demand levels (COD) using the Hach DR5000 spectrophotometer. Our last means of water quality testing was through the Water Quality TestKit on samples brought from site 1 and 3. In-stream testing resulted in pH levels ranging between 6.4 and 6.7, dissolved oxygen contents of 10.60mg/L and greater, and temperatures of 9.2°C and below. Accordingly, levels in pH, DO and temperature measured are all suitable for salmon spawning. Samples further tested in the lab showed higher ammonium, and phosphate levels that can effect spawning negatively. Lastly the Water Quality TestKit did not demonstrate very good accuracy, and was ruled to be unreliable. Our results indicate that Stoney Creek's conditions are favorable for salmon spawning, and that there is a strong correlation between temperature, pH and dissolved oxygen.

Document type: 
Report
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Streambed Composition and its Contribution to Spawning Viability Following the Completion of the Stoney Creek Weir Restoration Project

Peer reviewed: 
No, item is not peer reviewed.
Date created: 
2013-04
Abstract: 

Salmon populations are highly endangered, and in an attempt to restore these populations, habitat restoration projects have become abundant. The Stoney Creek Environment Committee established one such project to enhance salmon spawning conditions at Stoney Creek in Burnaby, BC, by building three weirs. In this report, the streambed composition of the three weirs is analyzed in relation to salmon spawning conditions for the five species of Salmonidea present in Stoney Creek. The result is a number of spawning viability maps ranking spawning conditions in sections of the weirs for each species. Weir 1 contained the smallest amount of undesirable spawning conditions, mainly because the streambed composition was dominated by cobble. Weir 3 contained the most suitable spawning conditions, with smaller gravel sizes and lower sedimentation levels. We provide rationale to explain which factors may have led to the conditions observed. This is followed by a discussion of our method’s uncertainties and restrictions as well as suggestions for future research and management.

Document type: 
Report
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Stream Velocity: How it can Affect Riparian Vegetation in the Stoney Creek AreaStream Velocity: How it can Affect Riparian Vegetation in the Stoney Creek Area

Peer reviewed: 
No, item is not peer reviewed.
Date created: 
2013-04
Abstract: 

Riparian vegetation is not often the first consideration for improvement when installing a weir into a stream or river. It is less likely to be taken into consideration in comparison to the in stream habitat. As the weirs often times change the stream velocity, this study was created to observe how this change in velocity can affect riparian vegetation in the surrounding Stoney Creek area where weirs were put in to assist salmon spawning. The study was not conducted to illustrate the direct impacts of the weir implementation, but rather the stream velocity on its own. The hypothesis for the procedure was that the differences in stream velocity would correlate to plant biodiversity on land. Due to previous similar research being done in different nonalike areas, it could not be argued whether higher or lower stream velocities would show higher or lower diversity throughout the stream. Random plots along the stream were made in order to observe differences in soil pH, stream velocity beside the plot, and the v riety of plants within the plot. To test soil pH and stream velocity, pH and velocity metres were used. The plants within the plot were identified using a plant identification book, and counted manually. The results showed that there were not many patterns that could be related to differences in stream velocity. Some of the patterns that did occur were the abundance of certain plants in certain areas. The diversities within the plots were also seen to be much higher than the diversity of the overall area. At deeper and slower water levels, the diversities and species richness were the highest. This research allows the effect of human remediations to be analysed. With further research, the full effect of velocity on riparian vegetation as a result of the input of weirs in a stream can be observed.

Document type: 
Report
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Stoney Creek Ecological Restoration Post-Project Appraisal: Soil Quality Survey

Peer reviewed: 
No, item is not peer reviewed.
Date created: 
2013-04
Abstract: 

The state of the soil in the riparian area around an urban stream, Stoney Creek, in Burnaby, British Columbia was investigated. This site had recently been disturbed by a salmon habitat restoration project. Our study aimed to provide a first set of data for post-project soil quality assessments in this region. Four soil pits were excavated and various soil samples were collected. These samples were transported to the Soil Science Lab at Simon Fraser University for laboratory analysis, where soil texture, bulk density, acidity, water content and erodibility were assessed. Although no root growth limiting bulk density and pH levels were found, the results indicated that soil compaction had some effect on bulk density, acidity and water content. This set of soil data is limited in its comprehensiveness and therefore future soil quality monitoring projects are recommended.

Document type: 
Report
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River Morphology and GIS – An Analysis on the Usage of Geographic Information System Techniques in Post Project Appraisals for Stoney Creek, Burnaby British Columbia

Peer reviewed: 
No, item is not peer reviewed.
Date created: 
2013-04
Abstract: 

The Stoney Creek ecological restoration project in Burnaby, British Columbia, was undertaken to address concerns regarding the health of the creek and of the surrounding riparian ecosystem. A Post-Project Appraisal was conducted to assess the progress made following the completion of the ecological restoration project, and to address a knowledge gap pertaining to the geomorphology of the stream. Stream velocity and cross-sectional area data, as well as GPS points were collected at four locations on the stream, and a segment of the stream was mapped using a GPS. The data collected was processed in ArcMap 10 software, and used to produce three maps of the study site, as well as four velocity profiles. The velocity profiles obtained from this study may be used to further our understanding of slope stability in order to predict future changes in the geomorphology of the stream. Other possible uses of the data collected include assessing changes in planform over time and assigning an index of naturalness based on pre-anthropogenic disturbance model of the stream. Moreover, the data collected in this report may help engineers and city planners to predict landslides and debris flows that could be detrimental to the salmon habitat and to nearby infrastructure and roadways. Finally, maps and 3-D visualisations may provide a way for students in EVSC 205 to learn the spatial relations of the work sites from a top down view, and would be a relevant area for future research.

Document type: 
Report
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Restoration or Disturbance: Assessing the Impacts of a Salmon Habitat Restoration Project on Riparian Vegetation Composition

Peer reviewed: 
No, item is not peer reviewed.
Date created: 
2013-04
Abstract: 

Invasive plant species can threaten the biodiversity and resilience of riparian ecosystems. A vegetation assessment of the riparian zone beside the Stoney Creek Off-Channel Habitat Project compared with a non-restored site and a previously replanted site showed that the sites were significantly different in their vegetation composition. All three sites had several invasive species of concern playing dominant roles in the ecosystem with the most common two species being English ivy (Hedera helix) and Himalayan blackberry (Rubus discolor). The previously restored site had significantly lower levels of invasive English ivy than the non-restored site. The non-restored site had greater total foliar cover than the other sites, but this was mostly covered by invasive species. The project site was only significantly different from the reference sites by having greater ivy levels on trees and a higher number of red alders (Alnus rubra). These results, along with the qualitative differences noted in the composition of the Off-Channel habitat from the previously restored stream area, suggests that further restoration and replanting needs to take place around the Off-Channel habitat area.

Document type: 
Report
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Predicting the Frequency of Dangerously Warm Epilimnion Temperatures of Stoney Creek’s Off-Channel Pond

Author: 
Peer reviewed: 
No, item is not peer reviewed.
Date created: 
2013-04
Abstract: 

Among the many water quality indices which influence fish distribution, water temperature is one of the most important parameter (Richter and Kolmes, 2005). In lake and coastal ecosystems, diurnal temperature cycles are regularly disturbed by seasonal and anthropogenic changes in the environment (Konecki et. al, 1995). Seasonal changes such as strong summer solar radiation can cause lakes, streams, and ponds to heat up; anthropogenic changes such as deforestation of streamside vegetation can as well increase radiation incident on surface waters (Konecki et. al, 1995). One of the many concerns associated with hotter summer weather is thermal stratification, a phenomenon which is known to negatively affect species assemblages at the population level (Carter, 2005).In order to protect native fish species from thermal stratification in Stoney Creek’s pond, this appraisal’s purpose is to predict summer epilimnion temperatures so that mitigative actions may be taken beforehand. From 6 hours of semi-continuous air-water temperature monitoring in the off-channel pond, three linear equations representing the air-water interface were derived from simple regression. The three models were based off of three individual sites along the pond, each varying in shade and depth. Results indicated that shade and depth are negligible variables when considering surface water temperatures, thus two of the three models were disregarded. Model 1 found that air temperatures of 27.3oC or higher above the off-channel pond correlate with dangerously warm pond temperatures (in respect to salmonids). 7 years of climate records were then sifted through to find the proportion of summer days exceeding the predicted critical air temperatures. Climate records expect 2.6 days in June, 6.1 days in July, and 6.3 days in August to have dangerously warm water temperatures (Glenayre Climate Station 2004-2010).

Document type: 
Report
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Post-Project Appraisal in Social Relationships between the Ecological Restoration Project on Stoney Creek and the Surrounding Community, Burnaby, British Columbia

Peer reviewed: 
No, item is not peer reviewed.
Date created: 
2013-04-22
Abstract: 

Scientific studies upon ecological restoration projects and their relation to nearby environments such as soil quality, invasive species, beetles living habitat have been studied extensively by varies research groups. However, researchers seem to have neglected the social relation between residence and the ecological restoration project. Knowledge on public attitudes and perceptions toward ecological restoration projects is essential in exploring the public’s degree of supportiveness and in creating a sustainable restoration project. Using Stoney Creek in Burnaby, British Columbia as a case study, this study searches for the relationship between community members attitudes and knowledge towards ecological restoration by examining the correlation of the resident’s place attachment, length of residency, and their willingness to engage. The study has found a direct relation between public’s interest in ecological restoration and their willingness to engage. The public’s willingness to engage also has a relation to their attachment to the creek. The public’s awareness and knowledge is related to the residents’ attachment to Stoney Creek and the duration of residency in the area. Proximity to the creek, however, does not seem to have a correlation to the public’s perception of Stoney Creek’s ecological restoration project.

Document type: 
Report
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Post Project Appraisal for Stoney Creek Off-channel Habitat Pond: Hydrological Suitability for Juvenile Salmonids

Peer reviewed: 
No, item is not peer reviewed.
Date created: 
2013-04
Abstract: 

Habitat restoration is an important process in protecting the iconic salmon in British Columbia. Specific criteria must be met in order to provide a successful salmon habitat. Water quality within the off-channel pond at Stoney Creek was analyzed with data collected from six essential parameters: turbidity, velocity, depth, as well as copper, nitrogen and iron. These were tested over two days under different weather conditions. Turbidity, velocity, iron and nitrates presented preferable conditions while depth could potentially be improved for the salmon’s wellbeing. Copper testing was determined to be inconclusive. We conclude that the Stoney Creek off-channel pond is an appropriate water habitat for juvenile salmonids to rest and develop. Possible future management strategies include increasing the overall depth, continued monitoring by the Stoney Creek Environment Committee, future copper testing with more sensitive equipment after a first flush event, and an increase in public outreach and education.

Document type: 
Report
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Ground Beetle (Coleoptera: Carabidea) Community Structure as an Indication of Disturbance in Stoney Creek, Burnaby, BC

Peer reviewed: 
No, item is not peer reviewed.
Date created: 
2013-04-22
Abstract: 

To investigate the impact of constructing an off-channel pond in Stoney Creek, Burnaby, BC to ground dwelling arthropods, carabid beetles were sampled at three sites: the pond site, the adjacent site, and the upstream site. The pond site was the area in which the artificial pond was constructed to create spawning habitat for salmon, and it was the most disturbed site. The other two sites were relatively undisturbed and were used as a comparison. Species observed in all sites were forest generalists consisting of both native and invasive species. This indicates that all sites have experienced recent disturbance since significant time has not passed to allow specialists to become re-established. Species evenness, however, was calculated to be lowest in the pond site, greatest in the upstream site, and intermediate in the adjacent site. This is due to the different characteristics of each site; the pond site had an open canopy as most of its vegetation had been removed, the upstream site was dominated by tall trees and is characteristic of a natural riparian zone in BC, and the adjacent site had a relatively open canopy as much of the understory was dominated by Hedera helix (English ivy) and Rubus ameniacus (Himilayan blackberry). Unfortunately, statistical analysis could not be performed since a small number of individuals were caught at each site; the impact of the off-channel pond construction is inconclusive. Future studies can, however, use this study as a comparison and further elaborate on these results.

Document type: 
Report
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