Assessment of spawning platforms constructed to remediate flood damage and Kokanee habitat : the case study of the Powers Creek flood recovery project, West Kelowna, British Columbia
Kennedy, Donald Joseph
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Powers Creek, located within West Kelowna, British Columbia (BC) experienced high flows and in channel deposition in the spring of 2017, resulting in damage to public infrastructure and degradation of kokanee salmon (Oncorhynchus nerka) spawning habitat. Kokanee are in decline in the Okanagan and the restoration of degraded spawning areas in Powers Creek was identified by regulators as a key requirement for the flood recovery design. Natural channel design techniques, which emulates natural river systems, and balances the hydrology, geomorphology, and ecology, were implemented to increase the conveyance capacity of the channel to decrease the flood risk, while providing critical spawning habitat for kokanee. For this research, spawning platforms designed and constructed using log sills were assessed to determine whether particle size, depth, velocity and Froude numbers were within the range of values known to be suitable for spawning kokanee. Results indicate that eight out of nine platforms provided a D50 particle size range suitable for spawning kokanee (between 25 mm and 50 mm). The spawning platforms generally provided kokanee habitat within the predicted values for depth, velocity, and Froude numbers. Spawning counts indicate that eight out of nine platforms had spawning activity. Areas that provided suitable substrate, depth, and velocity were not used by spawning kokanee at all locations. This is likely due to kokanee populations that are too low to utilize all of the spawning habitat. Further monitoring of the platforms is recommended to determine use over time. Additional research, including the collection of depth and velocity data to determine Froude numbers and detailed enumerations, would provide valuable data on the preferred spawning habitat for kokanee in Powers Creek.
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