Map of Murray Creek

Click on the maps to enlarge.

Murray Creek Watershed within the Nechako Watershed

Murray Creek

Murray Creek is situated on the north bank of the Nechako River, and is one of the larger tributaries to the river.

The Murray Creek Rehabilitation Project is a volunteer run project that focuses on rehabilitating Murray Creek for the improvement of water quality, fish and wildlife habitat and access for salmon spawning. A number of projects have occured on Murray Creek over the past several years, and the information is presented here. NEWSS members have lead field trips along Murray Creek to promote awareness and education about the creek and projects.

About the Murray Creek Rehabilitation Project

The Murray Creek Rehabilitation Project brings together land owners, businesses, schools and environmental stewards that collaborate to rehabilitate Murray Creek. We hope to increase the number of salmonids that inhabit Murray Creek, as well as improve water quality to create a healthy ecosystem. This will in turn contribute to the health of the Nechako River and the salmon and white sturgeon that spawn at the mouth of Murray Creek.
The Murray Creek Rehabilitation Project has been well received by most of the land owners along the creek, as well as members of the community and governments.

Background

Murray Creek at the confluence with the Nechako River. Photo 1 - Downstream view of the confluence of Murray Creek with the Nechako River in spring.

Photos 2 and 3- This is the confluence with the Nechako River in the Fall of 2015. It is unknown if the source of the sand that has accumulated in the Nechako River at the Mouth of Murray Creek comes from Murray Creek, the upper Nechako River or a combination of both. Click on the images to enlarge.

 

The Murray Creek Stream Rehabilitation Project was formed in 2008, although it had been on the radar of club membership for over 30 years. The objective was to understand how to facilitate the restoration of a stream within the Nechako Valley by working with the landowners in a cooperative and conciliatory way that would benefit the landowner and provide an atmosphere that would result in water stewardship practices that created and restored a healthy ecosystem.

Since we have been operating, the investment by private funders, landowners and agencies has been in excess of $300,000.

The initial target was to get 70% of the landowners on side within the term of the project and we have exceeded this within the first five years time. Not all landowners will participate on this project but that we will have projects on the majority of private land within the life of this initiative. The farming and ranching community understands the need to adapt their programs to include Environmental Farm Planning (EFP) and to be wise users of the water resources. Our experiences on the Murray Creek Stream Rehabilitation Project have demonstrated how we can work together to meet these objectives.

Purpose and Objective

The purpose of this project is to enhance the habitat along Murray Creek for the benefit of all users, fish and wildlife and to facilitate the process of the agricultural community voluntarily working towards water stewardship throughout the Nechako Watershed. The objective is to understand how to work corroboratively with the community along Murray Creek to facilitate the rehabilitation of the stream while ensuring that the majority of the funds required are raised from outside sources.

Funding & Projects

To date the Murray Creek Rehabilitation Project has secured funding and in-kind contributions that have gone towards a number of in-stream works projects including fencing off the stream, off channel watering, bioengineering to stop erosion, replanting the riparian zone, and replacing inadequate culverts to be fish friendly. As well as educational field trips for elementary and secondary school students, public education, and research (UNBC Graduate study in Community & Watershed Health).

Partners & Collaborators

As the Murray Creek Stream Rehabilitation Project has moved forward over the years we have developed tremendous support from many individuals, agencies and organizations throughout the province. Much of this support has been in the form of funding, while other support has been more collaborative in working on the larger outcomes of bringing water stewardship and education to the Nechako Valley. Our partners and collaborators include School District 91, University of Northern BC, BC Cattlemen's Association, Nechako Valley Regional Cattlemen's Association, Fraser Basin Council, Fisheries and Oceans Canada, Fraser River Action Plan, Ministry of Environmental, Nechako White Sturgeon Community Working Group, and Nechako Fisheries Conservation Program. Read more about our partners and collaborators »

One major supporter of rehabilitation work on Murray Creek has been Richard Martens, a long-time rancher in the area. Murray Creek flows through much of Martens' property and his dedication to stewardship and rehabilitation to long sections of the creek has not been overlooked. In 2015, Richard received teh Cattlemen's Environmental Award. Congratulations - well deserved!

Projects on Murray Creek

2015

Culvert Replacement and Channel Creation at Larsen Road:

In 2015 the culvert on Murray Creek at Larsen Road was replacee and channel downstream of the culvert was re-establishment from its historical channel. The culvert under Larsen Road was blocking fish movement and causing Murray Creek to change course. Over time the stream channel was diverted from the historic channel into a ditch that had inadequate capacity and became overgrown with vegetation. The stream began to cut new channels in the adjacent field causing erosion and downstream sedimentation in the creek affecting water quality and fish habitat.

Restoration Work Completed:
• Replacement of the culvert under Larsen Road.
• Re-established the banks by digging a channel that directs water downstream instead of outwards.
• Created overwintering fish habitat that are deep sections or pools in the channel that provide ice-free water.
• Hardened a cattle watering site using geocel and armouring to prevent bank erosion and reduce sediment suspension.

During fish salvage work at the project site, 49 chinook salmon, 18 rainbow trout and 3 lake chub were caught. Read the Environmental Monitoring Report produced by Avison Management Services Ltd. for more details and to view more images of the project.

 

2011-2014

Fraser Basin Council Ninth Annual BC Interior Stewardship Workshop was held in Vanderhoof in May 2013. NEWSS lead a field trip to Murray Creek to promote awareness about the project and the overall picture of NEWSS. See more photos from the event.

 

 

 

 

 

 

A comprehensive culvert assessment was done at all road crossings on Murray Creek in 2011. The scope of this project encompasses all known culverts within the agricultural area of
the Murray Creek watershed, including both public road and private road or crossing culverts. However, due to landowner rights in Canada, only private culverts for which permission has been granted by the landowner were measured. Eight private culverts were measured, however, this leaves an estimated 5-7 culverts on private land in which the landowner could not be reached, or did not grant access to their land.

This report was revised in 2014.

 

 

2011

Six projects were completed in 2011 on Murray Creek. View the full 2011 Annual Report.

Project 11-01:

General Description and issues: Removal of two undersized and hanging closed bottom culverts and construction of cobble/gravel based crossing using geo-grid.

Outcomes: Two undersized and hanging closed bottom culverst removed, and a cobble/gravel based crossing completed successfully. Approximately 300m of stream upstream of culvert is now accessible to fish.

 

Project 11-02:

General Description and issues: Removal of one undersized closed bottom culvert and construction of streambed prior to installation of an 1828mm span x 914 rise m open bottom culvert.

Outcomes: Removal of an undersized close bottom culvert and installation of an 1828mm span x 914mm rise m open bottom culvert. Approximately 800m of stream upstream of culvert is now accessible to fish.

Murray Creek Report 11-02

 

Project 11-03:

General Description and issues: A combination of grazing activity, fine glacial-°©-lacustrine bank material and the blowout of a beaver dam have contributed to lateral stream movement and erosion of the stream bank in several places. The prescription included strategically placing rock armoring on the stream bank for increased structural integrity, and the planting of native (willow) and grass species, to prevent further erosion and sediment distribution downstream.

Outcomes: Approximately 110m of stream bank was armoured and stabilized preventing further erosion and sediment deposition.

Murray Creek Report 11-03

 

Project 11-04:

General Description and issues: Removal of three undersized closed bottom culverts and construction of streambed prior to installation of a 2438m Span x 1219mm Rise Dur-A-Span Arch.

Outcomes: Three undersized closed bottom culverts removed and installation of a 2438m Span x 1219mm Rise Dur-A-Span Arch. Approximately 650m of stream bank upstream of culvert is now accessible to fish.

Murray Creek Report 11-04

 

Project 11-05:

General Description and issues: An existing crossing was in poor condition. A prescription to upgrade and construct a cobble/gravel based crossing provided a hardened watering site for livestock to drink and cross at the stream, and will allowed for infrequent crossing of farm equipment.

Outcomes: Crossing upgrade completed successfully, permitting the reduction of erosion and sediment deposition from unfettered livestock access to the stream. 

Murray Creek Report 11-05

 

Project 11-06:

General Description and issues: An existing crossing was in poor condition. A prescription to upgrade and construct a cobble/gravel based crossing provided a hardened watering site for livestock to drink and cross at the stream.

Outcomes: Crossing upgrade completed successfully, permitting the reduction of erosion and sediment deposition from unfettered livestock access to the stream.

Murray Creek Report 11-05

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2010

Six projects were completed in 2010 on Murray Creek. View the full 2010 Annual Report.

Project 10-01:

General Description and Issues: Undersized culverts removed and replaced with arch culvert.

Outcomes: Meets flow requirements and provided fish passage and increased stream availability, increased stream length of 800 metres plus.

 

Project 10-02 - Demonstration Site:

General Description and Issues: Decades of heavy use created the situation (degraded stream banks and loss of riparian vegetation).

Outcomes: Multiple projects along this section of Murray Creek, known as the Demonstration Site. This site is used as a demonstration site to show what can be done to repair using Bio-engineering. The site is used by School District 91 for Project Agriculture, University of Northern BC for graduate studies and Northern Health as they collaborate with the Northern Regional Drinking Water Team to better understand the linkages between healthy watersheds and human health.

View this video taken in the spring of 2014. The video shows how the armouring and protection of the stream banks is working during high flow conditions.

 

Project 10-03:

General Description and Issues: Narrowing of flood channel upstream increased velocity.

Outcomes: Rock and log structure installed that allowed stream to meander and continue to utilize old channel.

 

Project 10-04:

General Description and Issues: Banks had lost their structural integrity along with the breakage if a beaver dam years earlier that moved the stream channel against the clay bank and eroded large section of bank downstream.

Outcomes: Rock and log structures installed along with deciduous cuttings that took well.

 

Project 10-05:

General Description and Issues: Silt was moved down the ditch line in heavy rains and was silting Murray Creek up.

Outcomes: L&M Lumber had the ditch lined with cobble and installed an additional side culvert that moved this water into the forested land before entering the stream.

 

Project 10-06:

General Description and Issues: David Martens and Sons (DMS )- previous land owner had put the stream “where it belongs” and had farmed through the stream.

Outcomes: DMS fenced of the main stream, hardened of four stream crossings for machinery and cattle watering and planted stream sides with willow.

 

2009

Two projects were completed in 2009 on Murray Creek. View the full 2009 Annual Report.

Project FRISP-01-09:

General Description and Issues: Personal Bridge was continually having its foundations washed out and landowner had to go into the stream almost annually to reset foundation.

 

Project FRISP-02-09:

General Description and Issues: Cattle watering had caused banks to erode.

Outcomes: Logs were anchored to rocks placed along the bank and willows planted.

Murray Creek Report 11-02

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