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The Steelhead Review Newsletter

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VANCOUVER ISLAND (REGION 1):
FOCUS WATERSHEDS
Glendale River | Wahpeeto Creek | Atwaykellesse River
Ahnuhati River | Kakweiken River | Kwalate Creek
Focus watersheds south
GLENDALE RIVER WATERSHED
Glendale River Watershed Details
Glendale River Watershed Map Code: 9005698008600
4th Order
Wild Stock Trend:In Decline
Wild Stock Status:Conservation Concern
Class:Wild
Recent Escapements (H+W):<50 Winter Run Observed Mean Peak Fish/Km 2000-2002 (three swims) = 4.2 Observed Mean Peak Fish/Km 1992-1998 (four swims) = 26.5
Angling Regulations:Catch & release of wild steelhead
Mean annual effort:Long term ('68-'96) = / recent ('97-'01) = <100 days/year (needs check)
Mean Annual catch:Long term ('68-'96) = / recent ('97-'01) = <50 fish/year (needs check)

Estimated Steelhead Habitat Smolt Capacity & Returning Adults (assuming 13% marine survival)

  • 1,100 smolts, 143 adults (Based on mad-low productivity model and short anadromous length; Ptolemy 2002)
  • ECC level = 4 spawners/km; CC level = 6; Cap Level = 20.
  • ECC level may be lower since adults are 3-ocean type with higher fecundity than the norm
Existing Habitat:
 
watershed area (km2):
100
  Comments
mean annual discharge (m3/s):
6.2
 Extensive channel braiding and large frequency of LWD in the lower 2 km. create excellent conditions for juvenile steelhead, cutthroat and Dolly Varden rearing.
Large lakes on mainstem and tributary (Tom Browne Creek) promote stability and likely increase productivity. Baseflow alkalinity low at 8 mg/L and predicted biomass or capacity per steelhead size class is 100 g/Unit.
Summer Base Flow (%mad):
20
 
accessible length (km):
7.5
 
productivity (natural):
low
 

HABITAT RESTORATION TO DATE

  • Extensive FOC spawning channel complex is located near the Tom Browne Creek confluence (water is drawn from Tom Browne Lake via intake structure).

SPECIAL HABITAT PROTECTION REQUIREMENTS

  • Limit headwater logging activities to minimize deleterious impacts on the stream.
  • Preservation of existing habitat is of paramount importance.

STEELHEAD OBJECTIVES AND STRATEGIES

  • Consider protection of adult steelhead with seasonal sportfishing closures.
  • Review operation of weirs at the outlet of Tom Browne and Glendale lakes to ensure minimum flow releases are met in lowest reaches. All reaches above Tom Browne confluence are sustained by Glendale Lake.
  • A specific anadromous trout/char survey should be undertaken.

NOTES: Very large abundances of searun cutthroat trout are identified annually in steelhead escapement surveys. A biophysical inventory/habitat capability assessment was completed by FOC before development of the pink salmon spawning channels in the 1980s but the focus was primarily on pink salmon and how they were impacted by severe winter storms. Addition of inorganic nutrients is likely not needed due to presence of large pink salmon runs, enhanced with FOC spawning channel development.

The mainland coast streams appeared to fair better than east coast Vancouver Island streams in the period 1997 through 2000. This was possibly due to the greater proportion of ocean age 3 maiden spawners and geographic location on the east side of Johnstone Strait. Assessments in 2000, 2001 and 2002 showed precipitous declines in adult returns placing many stocks in the Conservation / special concern zones.

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Glendale River Watershed Adult Assessment
Glendale River Watershed Map

WAHPEETO CREEK WATERSHED
Wahpeeto Creek Watershed Details
Wahpeeto Creek (Wakeman Watershed)Watershed Map Code: 90069280023100
3rd Order
Wild Stock Trend:In Decline
Wild Stock Status:Conservation Concern
Class:Wild
Recent Escapements (H+W):

<50 Winter Run
Observed Mean Peak Fish/Km 2000-2002 (three swims) = 4.8
Observed Mean Peak Fish/Km 1992-1998 (four swims) = 35.9

Angling Regulations:Catch & release of wild steelhead.
Mean annual effort:Long term ('68-'96) = / recent ('97-'01) = <200 days/year (needs check)
Mean Annual catch:Long term ('68-'96) = / recent ('97-'01) = <100 fish/year (needs check)

Estimated Steelhead Habitat Smolt Capacity & Returning Adults (assuming 13% marine survival):

  • 1,000 smolts, 130 adults (Based on mad-low productivity model and short anadromous length; Ptolemy 2002)
  • ECC level = 5 spawners/km; CC level = 10; Cap Level = 32.
  • ECC level may be lower since adults are 3-ocean type with higher fecundity than the norm
Existing Habitat:
 
watershed area (km2):
65
  Comments
mean annual discharge (m3/s):
6.2
 Extensive logging throughout river corridor in lower watershed. Short steep watershed, likely subject to moderate to severe flooding. Unconfined channel in lower 2 km and moderately confined in upper 2 km. Baseflow alkalinity low at 4 mg/L and predicted biomass or capacity per steelhead size class is 70 g/Unit.
Summer Base Flow (%mad):
65
 
accessible length (km):
4
 
productivity (natural):
low
 

HABITAT RESTORATION TO DATE

  • No known restoration activities in sub-basin.

SPECIAL HABITAT PROTECTION REQUIREMENTS

  • Improve logging practices to minimize impacts on the Watershed.

STEELHEAD OBJECTIVES AND STRATEGIES

  • Conduct a biophysical inventory/habitat capability assessment. (The short anadromous length likely has two reaches both with significant steelhead value.)
  • Investigate whether inorganic nutrient addition to increase primary production may be a viable recovery option.
  • Determine feasibility of side-channels or over-wintering alcoves for improving juvenile steelhead and coho survivals.

NOTES: Recent interest in guided angling on this stream has waned with the collapse of these stocks although a sportfishing closure may be considered due to the accessible nature of the lower river.

The mainland coast streams appeared to fair better than east coast Vancouver Island streams in the period 1997 through 2000 possibly due to a greater proportion of ocean age 3 maiden spawners and geographic location on the east side of Johnstone Strait. Assessments in 2000, 2001 and 2002 showed precipitous declines in adult returns placing many stocks in the Conservation / special concern zones.

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Wahpeeto Creek Watershed Adult Assessment
Wahpeeto Creek Watershed Map

ATWAYKELLESSE RIVER
WATERSHED
Atwaykellesse River Watershed Details
Atwaykellesse River (Wakeman Watershed) Watershed Map Code: 90069280015800
4th Order
Wild Stock Trend:In Decline
Wild Stock Status:Extreme Conservation Concern
Class:Wild
Recent Escapements (H+W):<50 Winter Run
Observed Mean Peak Fish/Km 2000-2002 (three swims) = 4.3
Observed Mean Peak Fish/Km 1992-1998 (four swims) = 22.5
Angling Regulations:Catch & release of wild steelhead.
Mean annual effort:Long term ('68-'96) = / recent ('97-'01) = <100 days/year (needs check)
Mean Annual catch:Long term ('68-'96) = / recent ('97-'01) = <50 fish/year (needs check)

Estimated Steelhead Habitat Smolt Capacity & Returning Adults (assuming 13% marine survival)

  • 1,700 smolts, 221 adults (Based on mad-low productivity model and short anadromous length; Ptolemy 2002)
  • ECC level = 5 spawners/km; CC level = 9; Cap Level = 31.
  • ECC level may be lower since adults are 3-ocean type with higher fecundity than the norm
Existing Habitat:
 
watershed area (km2):
177
  Comments
mean annual discharge (m3/s):
17
 Moderate to steep gradient with extensive riffle cascade sections. Extensive logging throughout the lower watershed. Baseflow alkalinity low at 4 mg/L and predicted biomass or capacity per steelhead size class is 70 g/Unit.
Summer Base Flow (%mad):
65
 
accessible length (km):
6.4
 
productivity (natural):
very low
 

HABITAT RESTORATION TO DATE

  • No known habitat restoration efforts have been made to date

SPECIAL HABITAT PROTECTION REQUIREMENTS

  • Improve logging practices to minimize impacts on the stream.

STEELHEAD OBJECTIVES AND STRATEGIES

  • Conduct a biophysical inventory/habitat capability assessment including Kippan Creek.

NOTES: Inorganic nutrient addition may be considered, although watershed size/base flows may make this option impractical for the mainstem below Kippan Creek (too expensive). A biophysical assessment of Kippan Creek may show this major tributary to be an excellent candidate for nutrient addition.

The mainland coast streams appeared to fair better than east coast Vancouver Island streams in the period 1997 through 2000 possibly due to a higher proportion of maiden ocean age 3 spawners and geographic location on the east side of Johnstone Strait. Assessments in 2000, 2001 and 2002 showed precipitous declines in adult returns placing many stocks in the Conservation / special concern zones.

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Atwaykellesse River Watershed Adult Assessment
Atwaykellesse River Watershed Map

AHNUHATI RIVER WATERSHED
Ahnuhati River Watershed Details
Ahnuhati RiverWatershed Map Code: 900603000
3rd Order
Wild Stock Trend:In Decline
Wild Stock Status:Conservation Concern
Class:Wild
Recent Escapements (H+W):50-100 Winter Run
Observed Mean Peak Fish/Km 2000-2002 (three swims) = 6.3
Observed Mean Peak Fish/Km 1992-1998 (four swims) = 38.5
Angling Regulations:Catch & release of wild steelhead.
Mean annual effort:Long term ('68-'96) = / recent ('97-'01) = <100 days/year (needs check)
Mean Annual catch:Long term ('68-'96) = / recent ('97-'01) = <50 fish/year (needs check)

Estimated Steelhead Habitat Smolt Capacity & Returning Adults (assuming 13% marine survival):

  • 3,700smolts, 481adults (Based on mad-low productivity model and short anadromous length; Ptolemy 2002)
  • ECC level = 4 spawners/km; CC level = 9; Cap Level = 30.
  • ECC level may be lower since adults are 3-ocean type with higher fecundity than the norm
Existing Habitat:
 
watershed area (km2):
189
  Comments
mean annual discharge (m3/s):
18.1
 Some logging in lower 4 km of watershed with most of the headwater drainage intact. Extensive channel braiding and large frequency of LWD in the lower 8 km. Fish production comes almost entirely from mainstem due to consistently steep tributary streams. Base flow alkalinity low at 4 mg/L and predicted biomass or capacity per steelhead size class is 70 g/Unit.
Summer Base Flow (%mad):
65
 
accessible length (km):
17.6
 
productivity (natural):
low
 

HABITAT RESTORATION TO DATE

  • No known habitat restoration to date.

SPECIAL HABITAT PROTECTION REQUIREMENTS

  • Preservation of existing habitat is of paramount importance.
  • Limit headwater logging activities to minimize deleterious impacts on the stream.

STEELHEAD OBJECTIVES AND STRATEGIES

  • Conduct a biophysical inventory/habitat capability assessment.
  • Addition of inorganic nutrients may not be needed due to presence of large pink salmon runs, but conduct water chemistry (low level nutrient) sampling once monthly from May to October.

NOTES: Surveys in the fall of 2001, completed to identify potential encroachment by Atlantic salmon, showed very large numbers of cutthroat trout and Dolly Varden char in the lower 8km of this river.

The mainland coast streams appeared to fair better than east coast Vancouver Island stocks possibly due to the greater proportion of ocean age 3 maiden spawners and geographic location on the east side of Johnstone Strait. Assessments in 2000, 2001 and 2002 showed precipitous declines in adult returns placing many stocks in the Conservation / special concern zones.

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Ahnuhati River Watershed Adult Assessment
Ahnuhati River Watershed Map

Map: Ahnuhati River Watershed

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KAKWEIKEN RIVER WATERSHED
Kakweiken River Watershed Details
Kakweiken River Watershed Map Code: 900632100
5th Order
Wild Stock Trend:In Decline
Wild Stock Status:Special Concern (possibly Extreme Conservation Concern)
Class:Wild
Recent Escapements (H+W):100-200 Winter Run
Observed Mean Peak Fish/Km 2000-2002 (three swims) = 3.3
Observed Mean Peak Fish/Km 1992-1998 (four swims) = 35.9
Angling Regulations:Catch & release of wild steelhead.
Mean annual effort:Long term ('68-'96) = / recent ('97-'01) = est. <200 days/year (check)
Mean annual catch:Long term ('68-'96) = / recent ('97-'01) = est. <100 fish/year (check)

Estimated Steelhead Habitat Smolt Capacity & Returning Adults (assuming 13% marine survival)

  • 7, 000 smolts, 910 adults (Based on mad-low model productivity; Ptolemy 2002)
  • ECC level = 4 spawners/km; CC level =12; Cap Level = 41.
  • ECC level may be lower since adults are 3-ocean type with higher fecundity than the norm.
Existing Habitat:
 
watershed area (km2):
317
  Comments
mean annual discharge (m3/s):
30.4
 Historic barrier at 2.7 km was made passable in 1979. Significant instability downstream of the Elbow Creek confluence due to input of bedload and fines. Extensive logging throughout river corridor in lower watershed. Baseflow alkalinity low at 4 mg/L and predicted biomass or capacity per steelhead size class is 70 g/Unit.
Summer Base Flow (%mad):
65
 
accessible length (km):
22
 
productivity (natural):
very low
 

HABITAT RESTORATION TO DATE

  • An extensive semi-natural side channel is located downstream of the Elbow Creek confluence on the rivers west bank. This unmanned spawning channel annually produces several hundred thousand pink salmon but has produced as many as 800,000 pink salmon in recent years.
  • The Twin Falls barrier was bypassed successfully in 1979 with a concrete fishway increasing anadromous length from 2.7 to 22.0 km.

SPECIAL HABITAT PROTECTION REQUIREMENTS

  • Improve logging practices throughout watershed to minimize fish habitat impacts.

STEELHEAD OBJECTIVES AND STRATEGIES

  • Monitor encroachment of Atlantic salmon into this watershed from nearby fish farms.
  • Conduct a biophysical inventory/habitat capability assessment.
  • Consider as potential candidate for inorganic stream enrichment following water chemistry monitoring
  • Monitor steelhead catch and effort, consider partial or complete sportfishing closure of stream.

NOTES: Mainstem lakes, overall anadromous length and the large population of pink salmon should provide some measure of resiliency for this stock although it appears to have suffered the most dramatic decline of all of the mainland coast index streams.

The mainland coast streams appeared to fair better than east coast Vancouver Island streams in the period 1997 through 2000 possibly due to maiden spawner age structure (i.e., greater proportion of ocean age 3 adults) and geographic location on the east side of Johnstone Strait. However, spring snorkel surveys in 2000, 2001 and 2002 showed precipitous declines in adult returns placing many stocks in the Conservation / special concern zones.

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Kakweiken River Watershed Adult Assessment
Kakweiken River Watershed Map

Map: Kakweiken River Watershed

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KWALATE CREEK WATERSHED
Kwalate Creek Watershed Details
Information coming soon.
Kwalate Creek Watershed Adult Assessment
Kwalate Creek Watershed Map

Map: Kwalate Creek Watershed

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© BC Conservation Foundation 2003-2006
3-1200 Princess Royal Avenue • Nanaimo • BC V9S 3Z7
Tel. 250.716.8776 • Fax 250.716.2167

www.steelheadrecoveryplan.ca info@steelheadrecoveryplan.ca