Eric Langton students helping out with stream restoration. (Contributed)

Downtown Maple Ridge creek gets some attention

River group wants to improve fish habitat in Morse Creek

The Alouette River Management Society is taking on a new restoration project.

And it’s not deep in the rain forest, but in downtown Maple Ridge.

Over the next year, the river care group is focusing on a section of the little-known, inner city stream known as Morse Creek, a tributary that runs north of Eric Langton elementary on Edge Street, crossing beneath 224th Street and flowing into the Alouette River.

Over the next year, “multiple volunteer activities will be organized … in an effort to rejuvenate Morse Creek, engage the public and foster partnerships around this cause,” the society said in a release.

The group wants to restore the stream and improve water quality in that part of the stream and has already organized outreach activities with Eric Langton elementary by getting Grade 6 and 7 students to help rehabilitate the stream in Reg Franklin Park, which is almost located in the centre of downtown.

On July 20, volunteers will remove invasive plants such as blackberry bushes or ivy that can crowd out native plants. They’ll also be painting markers on the road showing people that the storm drains lead to the creek.

“Both of these activities are essential first steps in stream restoration and create a connection with the creek where we live,” said the release.

Sophie Sparrow, with the society, said that 110 trees and shrubs already have been planted to protect parts of the stream and that it will be a multi-year restoration effort to improve the park in a heavily used area.

The park is subject to litter and vandalism and the society is working with the City of Maple Ridge to find the best way to deal with that, Sparrow added.

The stream goes underground into culverts in order to cross 224th Street, then re-emerges on the west side to continue to the Alouette River.

“It’s nutrient-bearing. It’s not salmon-bearing,” Sparrow said.

But improving water quality upstream will improve water quality and the fish habitat that is farther downstream Morse Creek, she added.

Everyone’s welcome to help out on the Saturday event and can respond to:

The Pacific Salmon Foundation and the Recreation Foundation of B.C., are each donating $5,000, while Mustang Survival is contributing $3,000 for the restoration efforts.

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Eric Langton students helping out with stream restoration in Reg Franklin Park. (Contributed)

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