Pelham Hills Golf and Country Club/Coyle Creek Restoration Project (2005 to 2006)
The Pelham Hills Golf course property includes a substantial section of Coyle Creek, with 43 square kilometres of upstream drainage area that contains a very high concentration of forage fish. Prior to restoration, Coyle creek, where it ran through the golf course, was a straight channel, mown to the edges of its banks. The creek provided minimal wildlife habitat, poor filtration capacity, and was prone to erosion.
Additionally, a large dam on the property, which was used to hold back water for irrigation, was identified as a ‘critical’ barrier to fish migration in the Niagara River Watershed.
The NRC and the golf course owner worked to remediate Coyle Creek through the removal of the dam, installation of river stone riffles within the creek, and the realignment of the channel. The creek was restored through the creation of a meander and a floodplain, to slow water velocity, reduce erosion and promote bank stabilization. The banks were planted with riparian vegetation to add biodiversity to the site. Wildlife ponds were developed to increase wildlife habitat on the property while providing an alternative irrigation source for the landowner.
This property has been revolutionary in providing a working example of how golf course operations can be effectively coupled with naturalization!