Cottonwood Creek

Community Project:



Location: Lower reach of Cottonwood Creek in Nelson, BC

Client: Nelson Rod & Gun Club/Nelson Cottonwood Creek Restoration Committee

Objective: Establish native shrubs along banks of Cottonwood Creek. Stabilize eroding sections of creek bank using vegetated rip rap applications and create fish habitat.


Prior to this project, the banks along the lower reach of Cottonwood Creek were dominated by invasive weeds and grasses, especially Common Tansy, combined with areas of native brush cover. In order to improve fish and wildlife habitat in this area, Adam Kowalyshyn of the Nelson Rod & Gun club contacted Terra Erosion Control Ltd. (TEC) to develop a native shrub planting prescription, excluding trees, due to the proximity of the airport.


In the spring of 2006 a TEC representative visited the site and determined a list of suitable native shrubs and located suitable areas for planting along the creek. A total of 10 species of native seedlings were selected and obtained from local nurseries. The volunteers were instructed on correct planting procedures and micro-site selection. TEC supervised and coordinated the planting of these shrubs during the spring, with a group of volunteers from the Rod & Gun Club.


TEC also provided input and assistance to the volunteers with weeding and watering/fertilization of the planted seedlings during the season of 2007.


In the early spring of 2008 a vegetated riprap application was installed to stabilize two sections of bank erosion along the creek. A small section was installed below a storm water outlet and the other adjacent to a pedestrian bridge. TEC designed the treatments and supervised the work, which was carried out using TEC personnel as labour. The City of Nelson donated a backhoe and operator and the Rod and Gun Club provided a volunteer to direct traffic. In addition to the vegetated riprap applications, long live stakes of willow and red osier dogwood were planted on a sand bar within the creek channel to create “live shade” and further improve fish habitat. Adam Kowalyshyn from the Rod & Gun Club was instrumental in co-ordinating the logistics of this work.


As of the summer of 2008 many of the planted shrubs were doing well, although a portion of them had died. Overall the treatment has substantially improved shrub density along the lower reach of Cottonwood Creek and will provide additional riparian cover in the future.