The necessity of drought-proofing

Drought-proofing became a prime activity for QISES following their in-depth study initiated in 2003. All streams and watersheds on Quadra were considered for their responsiveness to drought-proofing; four were short-listed for further review. When the research concluded in March 2004 three streams were chosen: Village Bay Creek, Hyacinthe (McKercher) Creek, and Granite Creek. 

What does drought-proofing entail? Quadra's drought-proofing program has two aspects. One is storing winter and spring runoff to augment the summer and early fall flows; the second is creating more instream pools and naturally covered habitat. A simple system of pipes and valves allows QISES to make the necessary adjustments to water flow. It's amazing how little water it takes to save the lives of thousands of fish.

VB Lake

Looking north from Village Bay into Village Bay lake on Quadra's east side

Streams with headwater lakes, like the Village Bay system, have a definite advantage when it comes to drought-proofing. The period of peak winter storage is extended by placing structures at lake outlets to release the winter's water as a regulated outflow. Structures are placed instream that collect water and impede flow, creating more and deeper pools to improve spawning and fish rearing habitat. 

Following the study, Hyacinthe Creek was chosen as the most likely candidate for drought-proofing success. As a result, drought-proofing structures were designed and installed. They are now being maintained on an annual basis.

The QISES crew roll out new waterline for installation at Little Morte Lake.

Read more about:

• What we do

• What we've learned about stream keeping

• How we measure success: the fall fish counts

. The EcoCentre