Going with the flow
Reconnecting waterways for fish in Glacier National Park
Fish that swim up and down mountain streams to access different habitats are synonymous with flowing waters. When water flow is impeded by non-natural barriers – like dams, weirs and culverts – fish populations and ecosystems suffer. The fish of Connaught Creek, in Glacier National Park, have faced several such barriers over the years. For example, the Trans-Canada highway blocked fish movement along the creek until park staff had a large, fish-friendly box culvert installed. Reconnecting previously subdivided habitats now allows fish free passage under the road. Further upstream, a weir installed in 1982 to provide power and potable water to Rogers Pass still stops fish from navigating their way to high-quality habitat. Removing this hurdle would improve habitat connectivity for fish, allowing them to go with the flow.
What’s our approach?
- Increase the accessibility of upstream fish habitat in Connaught Creek by designing and constructing a new passive waterdelivery system that draws water directly from the stream and does not require a weir and reservoir.
- Remove the weir and restore the stream profile once a passive water collection system is installed.
- Restore aquatic and streamside habitats, fish connectivity and stream integrity by removing wood and concrete weir and re-planting the banks of the creek.
- Share stories of aquatic restoration through social media, outreach initiatives and in-park messaging.
What’s been accomplished?
- Developed conceptual designs for weir removal and the new passive water-delivery system.
- Began design contracting process and plans for a new water delivery system and stream restoration to be completed over the next couple years.
- Combined two separate projects (new culvert installation and removal of weir) and their funding to work toward a common goal.
- Featured aquatic restoration in the Rogers Pass Discovery Centre in summer 2017 with a 3-D model to demonstrate how replacing culverts improves water flow under highways.