Residents dig in to protect Coldstream Creek

By Jennifer Smith – Vernon Morning Star
Published: September 30, 2011 1:00 AM


Franz, Sarah, and Petra Wohlgemuth, plant a dogwood shrub in the new bioswale at Creekside Park in Coldstream Sunday for Rivers Day. The new bioswale, at the corner of Kidston and Kalamalka roads, is designed as a catchment area to divert the storm sewer and filter the water before it runs into Coldstream Creek.

The odd-looking trenches dug up in Creekside Park may have a number of residents scratching their heads, but they are serving a meaningful purpose.

With the help of volunteers, work wrappped up on a bioswale in the park, at the corner of Kidston and Kalamalka roads, on Sunday in celebration of Rivers Day.

The long ditches are swaled drainage courses, which have been dug up to catch stormwater runoff.

“What it will do is protect the creek from any foreign organisms,” explains Coun. Maria Besso.

“In the past, there had been some high readings of storm water going into the creek,” said Besso of a recent Ministry of Environment study that found high levels of fecal bacteria and nitrates in Coldstream Creek.

Along with acting as a catchment area and diverting the stormwater, the bioswale filters runoff before it enters Coldstream Creek.

To aid in the filtration process, upwards of 50 trees were planted by volunteers, members of the Society to Protect Kalamalka Lake and staff from Coldstream and the Regional District of North Okanagan Sunday.

The creek flows into Kalamalka Lake, and is therefore a source of drinking water, and is also a salmon habitat.

“If the fish could talk, they’d say thank you,” said Besso of the efforts to protect the creek.

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