Historically Chippewa Creek has experienced extensive and frequent flooding. Serious flooding events have occurred in nearly every decade since the turn of the century. Many factors contributed to the historic flooding and property damage: sediment build up in the creek bed, erosion of the banks, and an increasing amount of stormwater runoff. During a storm event, water levels in Chippewa Creek could rise to flood levels quickly and without much notice.
This 2003 presentation “Chippewa Creek: Flooding, Erosion and People”, gives a photo tour of the creek’s historic flooding, highlighting the damage to shoreline and properties as well as some of the factors which contributed to these flood events.
Historic Flooding and Erosion on Chippewa Creek
On the top left corner of each page in the presentation, you’ll see a small orange bubble. Click on the “bubbles” to read about how people, property and the creek were affected and the steps that were taken up until 2003 to protect them.
Water Quality Improvement
Chippewa Creek has undergone many changes over the centuries. Prior to the growth of the city, Chippewa Creek was a coldwater stream. Erosion, channelization and loss of tree cover along the shore has caused the temperatures to warm up. Sensitive coldwater species of fish, invertebrates and aquatic plants have been replaced in many areas by more common warm water species. In the late 1880s, the creek was the dumping ground for a sawmill and brewery, sewage and a landfill. Steps were taken over the next 100 years to reverse the damage including the removal of outhouses in the 1950’s and installation of sanitary sewers. In recent years, plantings and clean-ups by community groups, the EcoPath project, and Adopt-the-Creek stewards have made a difference. North Bay-Mattawa Conservation Authority conducts water sampling at the mouth of the creek and eco-sensitive species sampling sampling near the headwaters. Water quality has improved over the last 30 years.
Chippewa Creek Watershed Management Plan
Since the amalgamation of Widdifield Township with the City of North Bay in 1968, a number of projects were carried out on Chippewa Creek that helped improve the water quality.
In the 1970s, North Bay-Mattawa Conservation Authority began purchasing land along the creek to protect the flood plain, creating open space and parkland that eventually became trails and walkways.
The Chippewa Creek Flood and Erosion Control Program (1978 and 1984), followed by the 1996 Watershed Management Study have guided the restoration and flood prevention work on Chippewa Creek.
The 1996 Chippewa Creek Watershed Management Study set out a number of goals:
- Enhance and protect the ecological integrity of the watershed
- Reduce or eliminate flooding damage potential
- Prevent and control detrimental erosion and sedimentation
- Enhance the human use of the creek and watershed corridors
- Encourage environmentally sensitive development within the watershed
- Promote public awareness and implementation of the Watershed Plan by decision makers, property owners and the public.
Ongoing management of Chippewa Creek is based on the goals and principles of this Management Study.
Chippewa Creek Watershed 1996 Management Study Final Report
Flood and erosion work began on this section of Chippewa Creek in 2007, with the removal of concrete culverts and an old railway bridge near Hammond St. which constricted Creek flow and contributed to flooding. Phase II was launched in Fall 2011. The new ecologically sensitive 200m channel you see here was constructed upstream of John St. Downstream, beyond John St. 110m of the existing channel was deepened and widened. Chippewa Creek was restored to a more natural contour and habitat for aquatic life.
Over the years many community groups and individuals voluntarily undertook clean ups and tree plantings along the Creek to stabilize the shores, minimize erosion, protect habitat and reduce pollution of the water.
To help restore the Creek as a fish habitat, 13 root wads, 5 boulder gardens, 9 pools and 7 riffle sequences were constructed to provide a food source, shelter from predators, and help add oxygen to the stream. During construction, fish were collected and safely moved downstream to protect them during the 2011 construction.
What fish species live in Chippewa Creek?
Burbot (Known as Ling)
Northern brook lamprey