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Posted: August 7, 2021

Living near the stream

By Columbia Outdoor School

As you are probably aware Joseph Creek runs directly through the City of Cranbrook. It flows next to schools, businesses, golf courses, parks, and homes. We are extremely fortunate as members of this community to have access to the many benefits that the stream can offer, some even in our own backyard.

Because of this we have the responsibility to act as good water stewards by engaging in meaningful actions that benefit nature and people.

Riparian is a term used to describe the area adjacent to a body of water with abundant vegetation that can thrive in damp conditions and the occasional floods. A healthy riparian zone is critical for maintaining biodiversity because they provide essential habitat and act as a wildlife corridor. Additionally, humans also benefit from a healthy riparian zone.

When functioning properly they help to reduce flood erosion, act as a pollution filtration, and help with storm water management, while also increasing property value and contributing to the recreational fishing industry.

Joseph Creek had many historical functions in our community and as a result the ecosystem is not functioning as it should.

Flooding, erosion, and high stream temperatures are consequences of decades of stream manipulation and the removal of the native riparian area.

As a good water stewards, we can help rebuild the ecosystem. If you are homeowner along the stream we encourage you to plant native shrub species, like Prickly Rose or Red-osier Dogwood, and reduce the amount mowing within a few meters near the stream edge.

Planting will also increase the stability of the bank and help increase shade cover.

When disposing of garden waste avoiding throwing it into the stream, this interrupts the natural flow of the stream and can also contribute to build up of sediments which consequently has a negative impact on native fish populations.

Check out your local nurseries for native plant species and let’s work together to rebuild Joseph Creek.

Learn more about Columbia Outdoor School.

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