With help from the Government of Canada's Recreational Fisheries Conservation Partnership Program and Manitoba's Fisheries Enhancement Fund; Westlake Watershed District has completed a large project along the Garrioch Creek to improve water quality and encourage spawning of Lake Manitoba's recreational fish species.
Garrioch Creek is the largest infrastructure drain in the Rural Municipality of Alonsa. It has historically been known to be a spawning destination for several freshwater fish species of Lake Manitoba, including both Walleye and Northern Pike.
The creek has, in the recent past, been subjected to numerous floods and increased cattle use resulting in eroded stream banks and lowered water quality. The goal of this project is to protect the creek from continuous cattle access and rehabilitate the waterway to promote the return of spawning fish and a healthy ecosystem.
In order to achieve our goals, the Westlake Watershed District completed this project in several phases.
First was to enhance channel access by cleaning out the creek and removing barriers such as beaver dams.
Second was the establishment of 12 new spawning shoals to increase use of the creek by recreational fish species.
Third was the construction of exclusion fencing along 6 miles of the creek that prevents cattle access unless the appropriate conditions are reached, which will serve to help increase water quality.
Finally, the riparian area to the west of each spawning shoal was improved with the planting of native trees, shrubs, and grass to help provide shade for spawning fish, increase stream bank stability, and further increase water quality.
The Westlake Watershed District would again like to extend special thanks to the Government of Canada, the Province of Manitoba, Manitoba's Fish and Wildlife Enhancement Fund, The R.M of Alonsa, AAE Environmental Tech Services, Manitoba's Green Team and the many contractors and volunteers who spent time to make this project a reality.