Kama Creek culvert restoration: an assessment of long-term remediation success
Honours Bachelor of Environmental Management
DisciplineNatural Resources Management
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The purpose of studying the long term remediation success of Kama Creek, Nipigon Bay, Lake Superior, was to follow up on past remediation research with special attention to emerging concerns and the importance of continued monitoring – particularly on small nursery streams. Monitoring is an important part of ecosystem management that provides decision makers with current conditions and possibly more valuable, historical conditions. In the case of Kama Creek, there have been many alterations to the natural stream from railway and road crossings, channel realignment (1960’s), and remediation (October-November 2011). The Kama Creek remediation was initiated because of noted declines in Brook Trout (Savelinus fontinalis) populations throughout Lake Superior and Kama Creek’s own reaches. Since being recognized as an area of concern, assessments have been completed to establish pre-remediation conditions (2011), post-remediation conditions (2012), and remediation success (2013, 2014, 2015, and 2018). Individually, the research projects indicate the conditions and health of Kama Creek at one point in time, but combined together the studies directly show the re-establishment of ecological components, stream health over time, and success or failure of the remediation techniques. Indirectly, the continued study of Kama Creek illustrates the importance of monitoring remediation projects, ecosystems, and any ecological element. This habitat assessment of Kama Creek occurred that seven years after the 2011 restoration and continues to demonstrate that the remediation project was successful at increasing the abundance of high quality brook trout habitat. Sediment deposition continues to raise concerns about the long-term changes to the river’s morphology and potential impacts on the restored habitat features. However, the current condition of habitat features is maintained and ongoing monitoring s needed to better understand the long-term implications of fluvial geomorphological process on the overall stream habitat quality to decline. The habitat assessment method developed by Kaurin (2015) was an easy-to-follow system encompassing brook trout habitat characteristics and factors influencing such habitat components. This method is susceptible to assessor bias due to the qualitative nature of the assessment and descriptors used for each habitat condition, leaving the accuracy of this method variable between assessors.