The Rossland Streamkeepers is a citizen organization passionate about water and the protection and enhancement of our creeks, wetlands and groundwater for the benefit of ecosystems, people who live in Rossland area and downstream dwellers and future generations. Rossland Streamkeepers is a Committee of the Rossland Society for Environmental Action (RSEA) www.facebook.com/RSEArossland
Have you ever wondered where the source of Trail, Topping, Hanna and Murphy creeks originate from and the journey they take to the Columbia River? Are you the type of person who loves to spend time near water and excite your senses with sounds and colours of flowing streams? If you are like many Canadians who regard water as the most precious resource then join up with the Rossland Streamkeepers and participate in a discovery of the creeks that support life in your home and playground. We are looking for volunteers and also for stories, facts and points of interest on our creeks.
Rossland Streamkeepers is a not for profit organization with programs supported by the Rossland Society for Environmental Action.
Facts for Trail Creek Watershed
Elevation Change Meters
What we do
The Rossland Streamkeepers are responsible citizens who work collectively to achieve the following goals;
- Foster cooperation and collaboration among all groups involved in watershed stewardship;
- Enable better understanding and protection of our aquatic resources in a changing climate;
- Build capacity for watershed enhancement projects;
- Acquire and generate information and data for the management of aquatic resources and provide input into land-use planning and development decisions.
Trail Creek Flow Monitoring
Coordinates TCW02 Station: N 49 04.405′, W-117 48.110′
TCW02 Stilling Well Flow Monitoring Station on upper Trail Creek in Rossland.
A flow monitoring station was installed on upper Trail Creek in Rossland in October 2017. The objective of the Upper Trail Creek monitoring station and program is to collect scientifically defensible water data for parameters air and water temperature, water pressure transducer (for water level) and conductivity using Onset dataloggers. Water level is observed from a staff gauge in a stilling well and flow velocity is determined seasonally using a Transparent Velocity Rod and a Pygmy spinning cup and meter for the purpose of seasonal discharge. Data has been collected since Nov 2017. The goal is to create an annual discharge curve which is useful for water level prediction and to compare Trail Creek discharge with nearby Big Sheep Creek discharge. The intentions are to data share with the Kootenay Hub Data Management System.
The Rossland Streamkeepers, in conjunction with the Rossland Society of Environmental Action (RSEA), would like to thank the generous sponsors who contributed to the purchase and install of the equipment namely the Columbia Basin Trust, FortisBC, City of Rossland, and Hinterland Surveying. Thanks to Dan Horn for his carpentry in constructing the Still Well box.
Continuous water pressure measurements were collected since March 2018 by pressure transducer dataloggers and the data normalized to water level via elevation survey. Data indicates that the 2018 freshet was higher than 2019.
Continuous water temperature (in red) and conductivity (in green) was collected from the TCW02 dataloggers since March 2018.
A Discharge Curve for upper Trail Creek was created after 2 years of measuring flow and velocity by the technique of Transparent Velocity Rod (TVR) and the Pygmy Spinning Cup/ PDV Meter. The Discharge Curve allows one to obtain discharge (flow volume per time) by simply reading the installed water level staff gauge. Two techniques of measuring velocity were used because each tool has a limitation from either too low or too high flow. This is apparent in the comparison of the two techniques where correlations between TVR and Meter determined discharge are not good at either end of water level spectrum. Another method to determine discharge, called salt dilution, has also been to corroborate discharge results from the TVR technique. I used the method, conductivity constant and discharge equation found in UBC Professor Dan Moore’s paper “Slug Injection Using Salt in Solution” https://www.uvm.edu/bwrl/lab_docs/protocols/2005_Moore_Slug_salt_dilution_gauging_volumetric_method_Streamline.pdf
In June 2019, a discharge of 0.0288 cms determined by the salt dilution method was close to 0.0210 cms as determined by the TVR. On April 8 2020, discharge was determined by all three techniques Velocity Pygmy Meter PVD, TVR and salt dilution to give 0.189, 0.097 and 0.089 respectively. While TVR and Salt Dilution indicated good agreement, the Velocity Meter was high due to water level limitation.
Streamkeeper Ron Dennett takes a velocity measurement at TCW02 gauge station on April 28, 2018. Four days of sunny warm weather followed by a rain popped the Trail Creek to flood levels over 30 cm from winter lows. Velocity is measured with a Pygmy spinning cup and a PVD100 meter. Low flow, shallow conditions velocities are measured with a home-made Transparent Velocity Head Rod. Water level recordings from the gauge taken with velocity measurements during different flow conditions will be used to construct a discharge curve.
Tributary Temperature in Trail Creek Watershed
The project “Trail Creek Watershed Tributary Temperature Monitoring” is an extension of the Trail Creek Flow Monitoring Station. It has been generously supported by FortisBC, CBT and RDKB Area”B”. Nine temperature Blue-tooth enabled TidBit data loggers were deployed in tributaries of Trail Creek Watershed in March 2019. The objective is to determine seasonal temperatures in the tributary creeks. This data may lend to the interpretation of creek source, whether a tributary creek is ephemeral or gets too warm to support fish habitat. Tidbits were deployed in each of the following creeks prior to outflow into Trail Creek: Centennial, Falaise Adit, Golpher, Cemetery, Tiger, Milkranch, Cambridge, Warfield (unknown name), and Haley (see map for locations). Continuous temperature data will be uploaded seasonally and comparisons will be made over a 5 year period.
Water Temperature Graphs
HOBO Tidbit Temperature dataloggers were programmed to record the temperature (every 8 hours) of each tributary creek. They were placed in each tributary (see map) in March 2019 and the data uploaded in November 2019. This represents a full cycle of seasonal temperatures.
The main observations from data collected by the HOBO Tidbit Temperature dataloggers are:
1. The constant temperature range of Falaise and Haley creeks suggest they are groundwater source. Falaise flows from mine tunnels tied to Red Mountain; Haley flows from the toe of Teck Fertilizer Plant and Landfill. Warfield Creek dives underground in upper Warfield and empties from a culvert into Trail Creek.
2. Golpher, Milkranch and Cementary Creeks went dry in August. When creeks go dry the datalogger records the air temperature. You will see spikes to 20 C and dips below 0 C. The datalogger in Milkranch disappeared in July (some data lost) and was replaced in September.
3. The flow and temperature profile in Tiger and Cambridge creeks closely resembles Topping Creek. Cambridge Creek runs from a lake. As Trout have been observed in both Tiger and Cambridge creeks, it is important that the summertime temperature does not get too warm. Maximum temperature in the summer did not exceed 16 C.
Water Quality Chem Detective
As part of the Know Your Watershed Course, Science Grade 9 students at the Rossland Seven Summit School were involved in chemical water test screening of 6 stream samples collected within the Trail Creek Watershed. The students found that three samples collected from tributaries Falaise Creek, Warfield Creek and Haley Creek, had higher values for conductivity and phosphate as compared to the main stem Trail Creek. The students wanted to know why.
In May 2020, water samples were collected from the 4 creeks and sent to a professional water testing laboratory. The analytical results indicated that two of the creeks Falaise and Haley had higher phosphate and some metals than Trail Creek. These results represent a snapshot and are posted on the Columbia Basin Water Hub Database.
The cost of the laboratory testing was generously funded by Area B Regional District Kootenay Boundary and FortisBC.
Stream Flow 101
A one-day flow monitoring course 101 was developed by the Rossland Streamkeepers. The course provides students with hydrology basics and to learn different techniques to measure creek flow and use their data to determine discharge.
Students from 7 Summit Centre for Learning take their classroom tools and learning to the field. Rossland Streamkeepers teamed up with Instructor Jonathon Colehill class to measure the three most important factors of Trail Creek discharge: slope, channel area and velocity. Students peak inside the still-well to read the water level staff gauge. It was rainy and the creek was on the rise. Wet but happy.
Know Your Watershed –
Bill Coedy, a Know Your Watershed Educator with Wildsight, collaborated with J.L.Crowe Grade 12 Environmental Science teacher Kyle Percy in Nov 2020. They devised a two part lab plan that utilized both chemical screening tests and biological assessment of benthic invertebrates on local stream water samples. In Part 1, students compared test results to assess water quality and used a watershed model to locate stream source and influencing environmental factors. In Part 2, students used a benthic taxonomy key to identify tolerant and intolerant invertebrates and record their diversity and abundance to assess a streams health.
Bill Coedy of Rossland Streamkeepers was contracted by WildSight to deliver the CBT sponsored Know Your Watershed program to Grade 9 classes in Rossland and Trail for the 2019/20 year. The program is free but transportation costs (tour or field) are the responsibility of the school. Students learn about where their water comes from, how it is treated, how our wastewater is treated, storm drains, assessing water quality stream health by physical, chemical and biological testing. A tour of the water treatment plants, and field trip to a creek is part of the out of class experience.
Grade 9 Crowe K. Percy class: At the Rossland Drinking Water Treatment Sand Filter Plant. Operator Joseph Hopkins explains how the water from Star Centre Gulch Reservoir is sand filtered prior to chlorine treatment.
Grade 9 FI/RSS B-A.Wood class:
Inside the Backwash bunker at the Trail Water Treatment Plant.
Grade 9 Crowe T.Roehrl class:
At the Trail Pollution Control Center alias sewage treatment plant.
Grade 9 Science students from JL Crowe in Trail recently executed a WildSight Student Action Program to build a model of the Oasis Wetland. Students incorporated features that would enhance the marsh for wildlife habitat and future public educational engagement.
The Streamkeepers participated in a Trail Creek field excursion with the RSS Grade 9 French Immersion class in 2019. What a fun time ! Thanks KYW Educator Megan Cornell for including us in your program. After the learning session, the students continued to play with water in Gyro Park.
In June 2019, the Streamkeepers collaborated with Wildsight KYW Instructor Megan Cornell to talk about Trail Creek Watershed. A lucky Grade 9 class from J.L. Crowe (seen here at Gyro Park) got to experience the Trail Creek first hand. Don’t you wish the watershed model was a huge cake guys!
A grade 5 class from Rossland Summit School studies water temperature in the Falaise Adit Creek and discovers ecosystem life in Trail Creek.
Streamkeeper Jess Williams, of Know Your Watershed program, instructs Grade 8 students from 7 Summits Learning School to identify benthic macroinvertebrates collected from Trail Creek.
3D Trail Creek Watershed Model
A portable 3D Model of the Trail Creek Watershed was fabricated from high density foamboard using a digitized topographic map and a ShopBot CNC Printer. A protective plexiglass cover was also constructed at the Midas Lab in Trail. Instructor Jason Taylor of Selkirk College was the fabrication contractor.
The model serves as an educational tool used in outreach sessions by the Rossland Streamkeepers. The model highlights important attributes of the watershed such as creek tributaries, reservoirs, riparian habitat, fish habitat, recreation areas, trails and urban development. The model was funded by RDKB Area B and FWCP. It resides at the RDKB Planning office in Trail.
Trail Creek Interpretative Signs
Trail Creek is rich in history and has been modified over the past 125 years by industrial activity and urbanization. The communities of Rossland, Warfield, Annabel and Trail are interconnected by the pathway of water flowing from Red Mountain to the Columbia River. A series of seven interpretative signs have been designed and installed to inform the general public about the features and history of Trail Creek and its riparian ecosystem. The content of the signs is a mixture of archive photos and text based on historical information and watershed facts and points of interest. Archive photos were gifted from the Trail Museum and purchased from the Columbia Basin Institute (Rossland Museum and Discovery Centre). Interior Signs was contracted to design and produce the 20”x 30” signs on alumpanel. Layout and text of the signs was reviewed by funders and local community governments. Mofab in Rossland was contracted to fabricate the mounting structure using 3/8” angle iron. Rossland Streamkeepers painted the stands and installed the signs at strategic locations along the Trail Creek. This project has received funding support from Teck, CBT, RDKB Area B, Columbia Power, Morrow BioScience Ltd and FWCP. In-kind support was received from the Village of Warfield and the City of Rossland. Rossland Streamkeepers received approvals for sign locations from the City of Trail, Village of Warfield, FrontCounter BC and the City of Rossland. The location of signs along the Trail Creek riparian are indicated by the following map:
Linda Worley, Director Area B RDKB, likes the interpretative signs project and the idea that they will be placed along our precious water source and historical pathway. “The designs are well thought out and very viewer friendly, while being informative“. Director Worley supports the efforts made by the Streamkeepers to provide outreach sessions to inform all recreation users and especially youth. “We must all, going forward continue the ongoing protection of this environmental gift“.
3D Model of Cambridge – Violin Water System 20/21
The Rossland Streamkeepers have collaborated with the City of Trail to provide educational outreach sessions to the local public. The RS contracted Selkirk College/ Midas Lab to fabricate a 3D portable model of the Cambridge – Violin water system. The 3D model contains information about the proposed Cambridge Creek and Violin Lake Dam Decommissioning and Ecosystem Restoration project. It also indicates proposed hiking/biking trails, day use, parking ect from a 1995 Best Use Study report. The model has been on display at the Rossland Museum for January and February 2021.
Rossland Streamkeepers collaborate with Selkirk College and MIDAS Fab Lab in the selection of a digital topographical map to make an educational model. 3D models are fabricated by Midas Fab Lab in Trail under the guidance of Selkirk Instructor Jason Taylor. The digital map, with geo-reference data including elevation, is uploaded to a CNC milling machine. Several hours later the relief is ready to paint using the most current land use mapping information. Watch the video to get a glimpse of the milling of the Cambridge-Violin Lake model.
Sept 2020 Cambridge-Violin Lake 3D Model Underway
Rossland Streamkeepers have started a new project with Selkirk College/Midas Lab. A 3D model of the Cambridge Reservoir and Violin Lake area has been fabricated and is in the process of colour rendition to mirror land use and what a future recreational site might look like.
The City of Trail is in the process of sharing a preliminary design plan to decommission the Cambridge Reservoir dam with stakeholders (governments, land owners, water rights, First Nations). The results of the interaction will assist the City in finalizing the Preliminary Design Plan which is phase 1 of the decommissioning and restoration of the Cambridge reservoir. The City has been working with partner BCWF and the Rossland Streamkeepers. The 3D model will be used with the Design Plan to engage the public on feedback for best use of the area after dam decommissioning.
The model was generously funded by the CIP/CBT Trail, Warfield and Rossland and the RDKB Area B.
from Trail Times March 2020
…..Trail council has stamped its approval on a shared contribution agreement with the British Columbia Wildlife Federation (BCWF) for what is being called the Cambridge Creek and Violin Lake Decommissioning Project.
As part of first steps, at the cost of $140,000, the city has endorsed the Rossland Streamkeepers to produce a 3D model and letter of support that can be used for public engagement and grant applications.
The city’s John Howes says the Rossland Streamkeepers have experience in fabricating accurate 3D watershed models, mentioning the group has worked with Selkirk College and Midas Fab Lab in the fabrication of a 3D model of the Trail Creek Watershed.
Passer by reads history of changes to the Trail Creek mouth on the newly installed Trail Creek Interpretative sign titled “Stream-lined”. Another sign titled “Flood of ’69” is installed at the Gulch Park. Other signs will be installed along the creek within the year.
A picture of a foaming Trail Creek was taken in mid August by a citizen of Rossland. The picture and question why? was posted in Bhubble. Could it have originated from the storm water sewer?
A new road has been pushed through the woods between Mann and Richie Roads. An adjacent land owner is concerned that the road has impacted the riparian zone of Topping Creek.
The Streamkeepers did a creek trace during very low water and flow in Oct 2019. Trail Creek passes through 3 historic tunnels built for the ore tram cars. The tunnels can be seen at the Tiger Switchback on the Rail Grade just downstream from the Redstone Golf Course.
Selkirk IES class first to hike-car-hop the Water Walk Along Trail Creek. 24 March 2021.
Thanks to Selkirk College instructors Robert Macrea and Doris Hausleiter, the Rossland Streamkeepers led a student procession from Trail to Rossland and related the historical developments, the floods and the monitoring activities in Trail Creek Watershed. One stop was at the Violin Lake road where the 3D model was used to discuss the proposed Cambridge Reservoir Violin Lake Dam Decommissioning and Wetland Restoration project.
The Streamkeeper Show & Tell road show was held during Jan and Feb of 2019. It started at the Rossland Library during Winter Carnival and then moved across the street to the Credit Union.
The show then moved downstream to the Visac Gallery to speak to the Trail Rotary. Thanks for the free lunch guys! In the foreground of the pic is the first of seven interpretative signs for the Trail Creek called “Stream-lined”.
The Rossland Streamkeepers continued the Show&Tell road show to the Senior Centre in Trail on Feb 19. The Lower Columbia Unitarian Chapter extended an invitation to the Streamkeepers to share findings and displays on the Trail Creek Watershed. The theme and meditation of their gathering was based on the importance of water. The LC Unitarians acknowledged that the gathering took place on the traditional unceded territory of the Ktunaxa, Syilx and Sinixt indigenous peoples. Thank you for your support of the Trail Creek Watershed streamkeeper program.
The Streamkeepers were invited by the Rossland Rotary to speak about their programs at the Rock Cut at the end of May. Thanks Mic ! Always happy to discuss new ideas with a receptive audience.