Newton-based Student-led programs reinforce stream banks

Newton-based Student-led programs reinforce stream banks

NEWTON — Even though it was raining last Wednesday (Aug. 13), itdidn’t dampen the moods of the students who are part of the Salmon Habitat Restoration Program (SHaRP) and Surrey’s Natural Area Partnership (SNAP) environmental programs.

Both groups are studentled City of Surrey initiatives and were on-site Queen Mary Park stabilizing stream banks.

The stream, which eventually runs to the Serpentine River, was starting to undercut the bank.

"We’re building a bankerosion control structure because as we saw this morning with the rain is that it can really come out fast and hard and it’s undercutting the banks," said Chester Hitz, one of SHaRP’s team leaders.

"So what we’re going to do working with SNAP is build a structure with wood and small rocks and rebar to control that."When the stream cuts under the banks, it pushes the soil and plants into the stream, which can be disruptive to animals and plants in the park.

"(It) helps salmon habitat by controlling the amount of sediment that goes in the river because when there’s a lot of dirt in the river, it’s a bad place for salmon to live," Hitz said.

"By controlling this, we’ll control the amount that’s flowing downstreamfrom here into Bear Creek and then eventually into the Serpentine River."

Hitz, who is a geography student at UBC, said that there is close to 1,400 kilometres of salmonbearing stream in Surrey and that it is vital for this stream to be sediment-free.

"From Aug. 1 to Sept. 15 is when we’re working instream. It’s just minimizes the impact of the fish habitat. What we’re doing is adding in some gravel and some large boulders and creating spawning platforms for them," said Chelsea Nerpio, a coordinator with SHaRP.

"Last year, I was actually working with this program and I was putting some gravel in and we saw a whole bunch of salmon come up the stream. It was really cool. It is helping the streams within Surrey," she added.

Nerpio also said that there were erosion control measures taken at Queen Mary Park in 1997 and that this project was to update those measures to prevent the stream from cutting into the bank and eventually to the walking path.

With this project, the combined team also took care of some of the invasive plant species as well.

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