Plumbob Creek Project

Plumbob Creek Replacement Open Span Bridge, photo by Phil MacDonaldThe ability for fish and other aquatic organisms inhabiting streams to move freely (upstream and downstream) throughout their natural environment is an important component of healthy resilient natural aquatic ecosystems.  Different fish species and life stages require a variety of habitats at different times of the year. Man-made barriers such as road-stream crossings that block or delay fish movement can result in changes to fish communities and lost productive capacity.  Healthy, resilient fish populations are necessary to maintain British Columbia’s fish species diversity and productivity which in turn supports our recreational, commercial, and indigenous food fisheries. In addition to the importance to our fisheries, maintaining access to a full range of habitats is necessary to ensure fish populations and other aquatic species have the best chance to adapt to changing aquatic conditions resulting from climate change.

BC’s Fish Passage Technical Working Group has been working with BC Timber Sales, Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure, Pacific Salmon Foundation and the Federal Department of Fisheries and Oceans (DFO) to prioritize and remediate problem road-stream crossings.  Between 2008 and 2015 the Fish Passage Technical Working group has remediated over 150 road stream crossings resulting in fully restored access to over 750 kilometers of fish habitat.

One of the considerations used in selecting potential remediation sites is the presence of and benefit to fish species of special concern or at risk. In 2015, the Fish Passage Technical working group with support from BC Timber Sales, DFO and Pacific Salmon Foundation improved fish passage on Plumbob Creek. This project had the potential to improve habitat access for two species of special concern: westslope cutthroat trout and bull trout. The project involved replacing an undersized, raised culvert with a clear span bridge. Fish now have improved access to over 7 kilometers of upstream habitat and the Teepee Forest Service Road has an improved stream crossing better suited to deal with climate change in the East Kootenay area of British Columbia.