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The McCully Creek Restoration Initiative is a salmon habitat rehabilitation project collaboratively carried out by the Gitksan Watershed Authorities, Fisheries and Oceans Canada Resource Restoration Unit, the BC Cattleman’s Association Farmland Riparian Interface Stewardship Program, Gitksan hereditary territory holders and the adjacent property owners. The overall goal of the initiative is to restore access, connectivity and quality of critical salmon habitat on McCully Creek through a combination of ground works, monitoring and evaluation techniques. The study area includes an approximate 3km section on the geomorphic fan of McCully Creek, from the Poplar Park Road Bridge downstream to the Kispiox River.

Previous years of the initiative have involved baseline assessments of the McCully Creek watershed to inform restoration decisions, including fish habitat assessments, the establishment of a hydrometric station, a topographic survey and drone photos. Phase 1 of the initiative involved the initial physical restoration of the site, which included the planting of native plant species (locally sourced Willow, Red Osier Dogwood and Cottonwood), which were planted on the gravel bars above the braided sections to increase stability and encourage the creek into a single channel. The goals of stabilizing the gravel bars and better channelizing the Creek were to improve fish passage and decrease bedload deposition. Whips were planted over a total area of 4400m2.

Phase 2 began in the winter of 2020 and focused on the stabilization of approximately 50 meters of eroded bank directly across from the planting on the gravel bars. Stabilization was done partially through the placement of locally-sourced woody debris along the bank which doubled as habitat creation for salmon. To complete Phase 2 of the initiative, the restoration team will be placing locally sourced boulders within the creek to aid in stabilizing undercutting banks as well as the woody debris formerly placed.

1 of 2 main channels of McCully Creek flowing into the Kispiox River

Lower reach of McCully Creek showing both channels flowing into Kispiox River, braided section feeding both channels, and restored area upstream.

Restored Area to date: (1) Placement of LWD along undercutting bank, (2) gravel bar planted with native willows, Rosier Dogwood and cottonwood.

Ongoing work among all phases of the restoration initiative involves a sediment source study and expanded drone mapping of the area to monitor major landscape changes including the effectiveness of physical restoration activities across the two phases of work.

Further stabilization and channelization activities are underway, with the planned additions to water quantity and quality monitoring in the planning stages.