Ongoing efforts to clean up and restore salmon habitat within Cougar Creek are getting a boost thanks to an influx of cash from the federal government.
On Aug. 15 the Corporation of Delta announced the municipality had received $70,000 to fund the rehabilitation of the salmon-bearing creek.
The money was distributed from the Federal Environmental Damages Fund, a Government of Canada program, administered by Environment and Climate Change Canada, that ensures that court-awarded fines are used for projects with positive environmental impacts.
“This funding provides Delta with the opportunity to make substantial reparations to an iconic waterway in the North Delta community,” said Delta Mayor Lois Jackson. “Improving fish habitat in Cougar Creek demonstrates our prioritization of preserving and enhancing our natural areas.”
Since the 1960s, urban development in the creek’s watershed in Surrey and North Delta has contributed to degradation of the water quality due to high stormwater flows and low water levels during dryer weather.
The Corporation of Delta and the City of Surrey have worked with the Cougar Creek Streamkeepers in recent years to mitigate these effects. Notable projects include Delta’s Rain Garden Program, Surrey’s Salmon Habitat Restoration Program (SHaRP), and vegetation planting and maintenance by the Streamkeepers.
The funding will go toward installing rock weirs to create pools and improve habitat for fish, placing gravel to reduce scour of the stream bed and create habitat for the invertebrates on which salmon prey, removing non-native invasive plant species, planting native plants along the creek banks to shade the creek and provide food for wildlife, developing a detailed design for channel relocation to increase habitat area, and installing structures to slow erosion and provide cover and shade for fish.
Delta will take the lead in restoring the creek, though Surrey, the Cougar Creek Streamkeepers, and Fisheries and Oceans Canada will also be closely involved in carrying out the work.