From Washed-Up to Welcoming: Fish Return to Improved Habitat in Bear Creek

As TransLink’s LRT initiative surges forward, McElhanney’s Surrey Branch is collaborating with the City of Surrey to replace the Bear Creek Bridge. Our team is providing environmental, arborist, survey, hydrotechnical, civil engineering bridge design, and construction inspection services for a new bridge that will accommodate future transit along King George Boulevard. This structure is adjacent to Bear Creek Park and looms over a fish-bearing stream.

A key aspect of this project required careful attention to the fish habitat in the creek below the new bridge. Our environmental services team worked closely with the City of Surrey’s Project Manager, to not only protect the creek during bridge construction, but to improve fish habitat as well. Once the fish returned to Bear Creek, they discovered the new and improved stream habitat waiting for them – gone are the in-water creosote piles, jagged rocks, hardened shotcrete, and concrete bagged banks (see the before and after images below). Their updated counterparts include riffle and plunge pools, embedded boulder clusters and velocity shadows, a low-water connectivity channel, and a wildlife corridor. Our environmental upgrades resulted in an overall positive net gain of fish habitat, and the improved quality of this section of Bear Creek is an enhancement to the neighbouring community as well.

The creek is now being used as an example in the City of Surrey’s educational programs that teach children about the importance of protecting urban waterways.

Thank you to the City of Surrey for bringing in the McElhanney team for this project – it certainly went swimmingly!

For more information about McElhanney’s role on the Bear Creek Replacement project (including our in-house 3D rendering services), click here.

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