EarthCare Sudbury Partner Profile
Junction Creek Stewardship Committee
Junction Creek is a historical landmark that runs through the heart of downtown Sudbury. Despite its prominence in the city, for decades the creek served as a catch-all for atmospheric contaminants and garbage. Concerned residents began to realize that, just as the City's regreening project had enhanced Sudbury's damaged terrestrial landscape, they could rehabilitate the aquatic ecosystem as well. On Earth Day in 1999 over 100 concerned citizens attended a meeting to decide how to restore the Junction Creek ecosystem. The Junction Creek Stewardship Committee was established shortly thereafter with the objectives of restoring life to the Junction Creek ecosystem, providing public education about Junction Creek and its protection, and conducting on-going research into the health of the creek. The Junction Creek Stewardship Committee is now responsible for raising awareness and coordinating citizen participation in the environmental restoration of the Creek.
The Junction Creek Stewardship Committee has undertaken several projects to heighten public awareness of the creek's restoration and to contribute to the rehabilitation of the Junction Creek watershed:
Each year, the Committee co-ordinates community clean-ups of targeted sections of the creek. Sixteen community groups have adopted sections of the creek, agreeing to a yearly cleanup of their section with the help of the Committee. In addition, a public cleanup of the creek is held each year in the fall. Since 1999, over 4000 volunteers have helped to pull more than 40,000kg of garbage from the creek.
The Committee also plants native trees (from seedlings to 2 year old trees) and shrubs along Junction Creek. This vegetation is important for increasing shade, providing wildlife habitat and stabilizing banks. To date, over 10,850 trees, shrubs and cuttings have been planted along the shoreline of Junction Creek with the help of many volunteers. In addition, the JCSC has intensively rehabilitated 50 m of eroding shoreline with log/boulder structures. Large cedar trees with root wads were embedded horizontally in the creek bank so that the root wads faced the oncoming water flow. These trees were secured with additional logs and boulders, and native shrubs were planted on shore. The root wads will capture silt allowing for eventual growth of vegetation all the way to the water's edge.
Brook Trout Re-introduction
Since the year 2000 the Committee has organized a yearly fish release into Junction Creek in partnership with the Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources. To date, 8600 brook trout have been released, including 1,000 released in 2007 at various locations in New Sudbury with help from students from 3 local schools.
Bug Search Program
This is a free workshop for schoolchildren (funding provided by Environment Canada EcoAction 2000) that teaches kids how to monitor water quality by identifying invertebrates living in the creek. The workshop incorporates classroom presentations with a field trip to the Creek where kids can capture and identify invertebrates. The program is offered in English and French and in 2007 had approximately 700 participants. Over 3,700 kids have taken part in this program since its inception in 2001.
Stormwater Pollution Prevention Campaign
This is an awareness campaign to educate individuals about how they can prevent stormwater pollution. The program consists of:
- The Creek-Friendly Car Wash Program – The Junction Creek Stewardship Committee has purchased a Latimat© containment device that can be borrowed by community groups wishing to hold a carwash event. Soapy wash-water is collected in the Latimat and then pumped into a sanitary system drain
- The Creek-Friendly Homes Program – This program consists of an educational brochure targeted at homeowners and a door-to-door campaign to introduce the brochure and its concepts to over 300 homes backing onto Junction Creek.
Junction Creek Adventures
This series of fun, educational hikes gives children an appreciation for all the creatures of the Junction Creek ecosystem. Adventure brochures guide hikers along the Creek and incorporate lots of fun activities that teach kids about nature, the environment, and the history of Junction Creek. Brochures are available on the Junction Creek website, www.junctioncreek.com.
The Junction Creek Stewardship Committee participates in on-going research projects to assess the health of the creek:
- Water Sampling: Monthly water sampling of Junction Creek started in 2004. Seven sites were chosen to be monitored monthly. Well distributed along the creek these sites cover the whole creek from Garson to Kelly Lake and are strategically placed in order to also monitor water quality from tributaries of Junction Creek such as the creek's Frood Branch. Water temperature, ambient temperature and water depth are all tallied and 3 water samples are collected from each site. Vale Inco Ltd. provides analysis of these samples free of charge. Data collected from these sampling activities is used to monitor improvement in metal concentrations and the creek and to identify areas of concern along the creek.
- Storm Sewer Inventory: Discharge from storm sewers along Junction Creek have for some time been thought to be a major source of pollution of Junction Creek. In the summer of 2006 a storm sewer inventory was initiated and completed in the summer of 2007. The data collected is to be used to identify pollution hot spots, thermal variances in stormwater and creek water and as a cornerstone for improvement.
- Fish Community Assessment of Junction Creek: In 2004 a study was conducted by the Co-operative Fresh Water Ecology Unit and the Junction Creek Stewardship Committee using electro fishing and minnow traps to determine species abundance and distribution in the creek from Garson Mine to Kelly Lake. The assessment found 14 fish species in the creek, including brook trout released previously through the brook trout re-introduction program. The study found that the area containing fish had increased from a study done in 1993, which corresponded with improved water quality in these areas of expansion.
Achievements and Outcomes
Over the past eight years the Junction Creek Stewardship Committee's efforts to clean and rehabilitate the creek have resulted in the removal of over 40,000 kg of garbage, the addition of over ten thousand trees, shrubs and cuttings along the banks, and the introduction of over 8,600 Brook Trout to the waterway. Over 5000 community volunteers have participated in these projects. The Committee has also engaged thousands of school children in the quest to keep the creek clean and healthy through its hands-on children's programmes.
Recently, the Junction Creek Stewardship Committee was recognized at the Canadian Environment Awards Gala, receiving a Silver Award for Restoration and Rehabilitation.
The Junction Creek Stewardship Committee has a long and growing list of supporting organizations and community partners. For a complete list of the Committee's funding partners and in-kind donors, visit www.junctioncreek.com.
Implementation of the EarthCare Sudbury Local Action Plan (LAP)
Youth and the Environment