It has taken years of fundraising and planning to get Valleys 2000 – Bowmanville Creek Fish Ladder around Bowmanville operational after many obstacles and delays. This bypass will allow larger fish to travel upstream to spawn, as well as skip over those obstacles that hinder them from doing so.
“This valley has been transformed into an absolute jewel thanks to Valleys 2000. The fish ladder will be part of this community for decades to come,” Mayor Adrian Foster said at the opening ceremony on Monday, Dec. 16.
Despite opposition from elected officials, citizens, businesses and the municipality, Valleys 2000, a volunteer group aimed at improving two Bowmanville river valleys, championed the design and implementation of the fish ladder, including receiving a $150,000 Trillium Foundation grant.
Deputy Durham MPP John O’Toole thanked the entire Durham community for their contributions.
Bowmanville Creek Fish bypass project is receiving a $100,848 federal grant as announced by Durham MP Erin O’Toole at the opening ceremony. During a grant presentation from the new Recreational Fisheries Conservation Partnerships Program, which sponsors fishery conservation activities, Valleys 2000 and Bowmanville Creek Anglers Association jointly submitted an application.
He awarded volunteers Harold Hammond and Dave Lawson with Community Service Medallions for their work on the project, describing Clarington as one of the first communities to receive such a grant in all of Canada. During the past two years, hundreds of volunteers have waded into the water to raise fish over the blocked dam during Valleys 2000 – Bowmanville Creek Fish Ladder — an initiative supported by municipal support, fundraisers, and the support of hundreds of citizens.
Trout were stocked in 1988 at the old dam. Bowmanville Creek fish bypass proved to be a problem when Chinook salmon were introduced into Ontario waterways. In most cases, the larger fish missed the jump, and they became stuck on the concrete dam, causing their deaths. According to the estimate, only one percent of the large salmon were able to make it up the creek to spawn.
To make Valleys 2000’s fish bypass a reality, Valleys 2000 volunteers had to navigate a maze of regulations from Federal, Provincial and local agencies involved in protecting the waterways, such as the Ministry of Natural Resources, the Fish and Wildlife Department, and the Central Lake Ontario Conservation Authority.
As a result of repeated requests to the engineers to modify the plans, construction was supposed to begin in 2012 but was delayed. In the end, the design work cost about $90,000. “We are grateful for every donation,” said Valleys 2000 president Reverend Frank Lockhart during the opening ceremony of Valleys 2000 – Bowmanville Creek Fish Ladder.
Final landscaping, donor recognition boards, as well as signs will be finished by the spring. With the new observation platform, the public will be able to witness migrating fish from the top for the first time this spring and fall.
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