Fitzsimmons Creek is a glacier-fed stream that flows between Whistler and Blackcomb mountains, through Whistler Village and into Green Lake. The stream supports populations of rainbow trout, bull trout, kokanee and sculpins. The lower 3 km of the stream has been channelized and diked to provide flood protection to Whistler Village and its residential neighborhoods. As a result of the dikes, off-channel habitat available for fish is extremely limited. To compensate for ongoing flood maintenance in Fitzsimmons Creek, Cascade was retained by the Resort Municipality of Whistler to identify opportunities for off channel habitat creation and enhancement.
Cascade identified opportunities for off-channel habitat creation along Fitzsimmons Creek, provided overall site design for the project, applied for a water license for the channel, conducted breeding bird surveys along the channel corridor, and provided environmental monitoring services during project construction.
Spruce Grove Park was selected for aquatic habitat creation based on the characteristics of the site. The northern portion of the park contains a forest dominated by mature spruce trees and heavy underbrush.
Cascade identified a channel route that does not impact any of the mature spruce trees in the forest while benefiting from the heavy underbrush to provide a healthy riparian overstory for the channel.
Channel construction was completed in October 2011. The stream was complexed using boulders and large woody debris, and portions of the channel were lined with gravels from the Fitzsimmons mainstem.
Channel design flows and complexing were selected to target bull trout rearing preferences; however, the channel is also expected to benefit resident rainbow trout.