Michipicoten First Nation White Sands Creek Rehabilitation Project

The proposed project focuses on rehabilitating and increasing the resiliency of an approximately 200m long section of Whitesands creek. This creek flows through the center of the Michipicoten First Nation Whitesands residential area and feeds directly into Lake Superior. The Whitesands stream was impacted by a major flood event in October 2012 which washed away sections of land and water crossings resulting in degraded wildlife habitat and left residents stranded. The proposed project addresses a long overdue response to rehabilitating the creek and developing community resilience to climate change. The proposed project aims to reduce Michipicoten First Nation's vulnerability in the case of a major water event, improve water quality, rehabilitate terrestrial and aquatic habitat, and increase citizen education and access to nature. This will be addressed by replacing 2 culverts; stablizating the stream bank with gabions and planting culturally/ecologically significant vegetation; and enhancing a public greenspace with the addition of a terrace and educational signage. At the time of the event, the community needed to act quickly to provide access to basic needs and emergency services and therefore installed a culvert that they already had on site. This resulted in the main culvert being installed in a "perched" state which can impede fish passage. This culvert supports the sole access route for citizens to leave their homes. The other culvert was much smaller in size, and over time the road bed and freeze/thaw cycles from Lake Superior damaged the pipe. This culvert allows for access to the community cemetery, camping area, public beach and ceremony location. This project proposes to replace the existing culverts with appropriately sized and properly embedded culverts to withstand a major water event and allow for fish passage. The major flood event washed away many sand banks along the creek, including a portion within the proposed 200m project. This resulted in a thick layer of sand being deposited on a predominantly gravel/cobble stream bed. The stream banks have had some patchy vegetation growth fill in over time, including opportunistic native and invasive species, however there are still areas with exposed sand that continue to erode. When speaking with a resident of Michipicoten, they explained that Rainbow Trout used to be able to be found in the creek in the 1980's, however it is suspected that due to the unfavorable substrate and challenging fish passages, Rainbow Trout are no longer found in this creek. Part of the proposed project will include stabilizing the stream bank using gabions and native vegetation. Plant selection will be based on growing zone and substrate suitability, root structure and bank stabilization strength, wildlife habitat and food source quality, contribution to canopy cover, and cultural significance. The proposed project is located in the heart of Michipcoten's recreational and natural asset system within the Whitesands residential area, including a public park, playground, cultural area, the Whitesands Creek and the beach on Lake Superior. In addition to the culvert replacements and bank stabilizations, a public terrace with seating and educational signage will be built to increase the connection between the park, playground and creek.

Latest update

April 9, 2024 - The authorities have determined that the proposed project is not likely to cause significant adverse environmental effects. Therefore, the authorities may carry out the project, exercise any power, perform any duty or function, or provide financial assistance to enable the project to be carried out in whole or in part.


Key documents

Key documents
Document Number Document Title File Date
2 Notice of Determination - April 9, 2024
1 Michipicoten First Nation White Sands Creek Rehabilitation Project - August 3, 2023


Infrastructure Canada
Calvin Kemm, Senior Environmental Review and Approvals Officer
1100-180 Kent Street
Ottawa, Ontario K1P 0B6
Telephone: 613-292-8120
Email: calvin.kemm@infc.gc.ca

  • Location

    • Township of Wawa (Ontario)
  • Nature of Activity

    • Water Management
    • Remediation and conservation
  • Assessment Status

  • Start Date

  • Proponent

    Michipicoten First Nation
  • Authorities

    • Infrastructure Canada
  • Assessment Type

    Project on federal lands
  • Reference Number


This map is for illustrative purposes. The markers represent the approximate locations based on available data. More than one marker may be identified for a given assessment.


Nearby assessments

...within 200 kilometres
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