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The Steelhead Review Newsletter

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LOWER MAINLAND (REGION 2):
FOCUS WATERSHEDS
Phillips | Orford | Quatam | Brem

Focus watersheds east

PHILLIPS RIVER WATERSHED
Phillips River Watershed Details
Phillips River Watershed Map Code: 900447800
5th Order
Wild Stock Trend: Declining (Based on Keogh)
Wild Stock Status: Special Concern
Class: Wild
Recent Steelhead Escapement: Not assessed - believed to be small summer and winter runs
Angling Status: Steelhead Catch and Release Largely Guided, Light effort, heli-angling out of Campbell River and Powell River with some effort by local loggers and people from Stuart Island area. Fishable Length: Low to Medium. Remote access by boat/float plane to camp at mouth, limited locations from existing roads.

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

  • not available

EXISTING HABITAT

  • Ungauged system, 27 km accessible length with lake approx 4 km from mouth, low natural productivity.
  • Active logging and road construction in headwaters, main line logging road being extended out of flood plain on north west side, old roads deactivated. Subject to glacial runoff in summer months, lake 5 km above mouth, barriers on many tribs and on main stem at approx. 33km. Numerous side channels and excellent riparian habitats are found above lake. Clearwater confluence with Phillips has recently been "blown-out."

HABITAT RESTORATION TO DATE

  • Extensive road deactivation and riparian zone rehabilitation
  • DFO unmanned spawning channel in lower river below lake

SPECIAL HABITAT PROTECTION REQUIREMENTS

  • Maintain good logging practices with particular emphasis on cut blocks on steep slopes in headwater reaches and in protection of high value spawning and rearing areas.

STEELHEAD OBJECTIVES AND STRATEGIES

  • Develop cost-effective system of monitoring steelhead stock abundance and timing plus habitat condition on a regular basis.
  • Upgrade existing biophysical inventory information to identify and prioritize steelhead recovery options - some work done to date but mainly on other species.
  • Investigate the feasibility of making Phillips a steelhead index stream representing remote mainland systems.
  • Have the existing Pacific Salmon Foundation initiative undertake a fish sustainability watershed plan as a community pilot for relatively inaccessible watersheds.
  • Examine current fish utilization above an obstruction on Clearwater tributary of Phillips - substantial productive potential may be realized.

IDENTIFIED RECOVERY OPTIONS

  • Enrichment potential confirmed with water sampling 2001 on both Phillips and Clearwater;
  • Improve productive capability of warm water side channel stream at 22km on Phillips;
  • Exploit side channel potential in old log flume channel downstream of existing Gillard Pass embayment;
  • Beaver control in numerous natural side channels.

NOTES: Excellent opportunity to partner with Gillard Pass community group who are active on site. Phillips could be developed as remote mainland index stream with help from PSEF. All species of salmon present, strong pink producer on even years, balance of species well below historic levels. FRBC reports available on habitat capability but have very limited info on steelhead. Last reported catch on SHQ in 1996.

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Phillips River Watershed Adult Assessment

Chart: Phillips River Catch and Effort Steelhead Harvest Analysis Data (1968 to 2002)

PDF version (40KB PDF, opens in new browser window)

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Phillips River Watershed Map

Map: Phillips River Watershed

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ORFORD RIVER WATERSHED
Orford River Watershed (Bute Inlet) Details
Orford River Map Code: 900391500
4th Order
Wild Stock Trend: Declining (Based on Keogh and local observers)
Wild Stock Status: Special Concern
Class: Wild
Recent Steelhead Escapements: Not Assessed - believed to be small summer and possible winter runs
Angling Status: Steelhead Catch and Release Fishery - very light reported effort. 95% of time from 1968 onwards has no reported activity, possible. Fishable Length is low to Medium - Remote Access by boat/float plane to camp at mouth

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

  • Not available

EXISTING HABITAT

  • Ungauged system, 5 km accessible length, low productivity.
  • Channel instability, bank erosion, and sediment transport.

HABITAT RESTORATION TO DATE

  • Some rehab and complexing has been done at a DFO spawning channel
  • May have been some riparian work and road deactivation

HABITAT PROTECTION REQUIREMENTS

  • Requires sensitive logging practices with particular emphasis on cut blocks on steep slopes in headwater reaches.

STEELHEAD OBJECTIVES AND STRATEGIES

  • Develop cost-effective system of monitoring steelhead stock abundance and timing plus habitat condition on a regular basis.
  • Identify and prioritize recovery opportunities, initiate, complete, and evaluate results.
  • Involve Homalco First Nation in developing a steelhead monitoring system.
  • Improve ongoing habitat protection to minimize future restoration requirements and costs.
  • Check enrichment potential with water sampling

NOTES: Very remote system for angler access - except by helicopter, winter access is difficult because of weather conditions in Bute Inlet. No routine surveys. Homalco hatchery operation near mouth - strong hatchery run of coho in 2001. Restoration potential lessened by high access costs.

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Orford River Watershed (Bute Inlet) Adult Assessment

Chart: Orford River Catch and Effort Steelhead Harvest Analysis Data (1968 to 2002)

PDF version (40KB PDF, opens in new browser window)

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Orford River Watershed (Bute Inlet) Map

Map: Orford River Watershed

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QUATAM RIVER WATERSHED
Quatam River Watershed (Ramsay Arm) Details
Quatam River
Map Code: 900368900
3rd Order
Wild Stock Trend: Declining (Based on Keogh and local observers)
Wild Stock Status: Special Concern
Class: Wild
Recent Steelhead Escapements: Not Assessed - believed to be small summer and winter runs
Angling Status: Steelhead Catch and Release Fishery. Largely Guided, very light effort, heli-angling out of Campbell River and Powell River. Last reported catch 1990, effort 1997. Fishable Length: Medium - Remote Access by boat/float plane to camp at mouth, unimproved airstrip, limited access to main stem.

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

  • Not available

EXISTING HABITAT

  • 10 km accessible length, low productivity, no lake buffering
  • Heavily logged leading to channel instability, bank erosion, and sediment transport. Several slides, intermittent logging operations. Two road-induced slides are contributing to sediment input and reduced channel complexity. Forest harvesting in 1950s, cutting second growth in valley bottom including alder (pending).

HABITAT RESTORATION TO DATE

  • FRBC Riparian enhancement (March 2000), may be some road deactivation.

HABITAT PROTECTION REQUIREMENTS

  • Requires much improved logging practices with particular emphasis on road-building standards and cut blocks on steep (and unstable) slopes.

STEELHEAD OBJECTIVES AND STRATEGIES

  • Develop cost-effective system of monitoring steelhead stock abundance and timing plus habitat condition on a regular basis.
  • Identify and prioritize recovery opportunities, initiate, complete, and evaluate results.
  • Involve First Nation and PSF pilot in developing a steelhead monitoring system.
  • Improve ongoing habitat protection to minimize future restoration requirements and costs.

IDENTIFIED RECOVERY OPTIONS

  • Enrichment potential confirmed with water sampling in 2001
  • Slide stabilization and old road deactivation
  • Off-channel improvements. LWD installations, refuge alcoves

NOTES: First Nations (Cortes Island) interest on Quatam. They have undertaken contract escapement estimates and some biophysical survey work at Phillips and Quatam. Escapements of all salmon species very depressed or not reported. Heavy fishing effort and catch in 1970s may have contributed significantly to a sharp decline in catch and effort that has never recovered.

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Quatam River Watershed (Ramsay Arm) Adult Assessment

Chart: Quatam River Catch and Effort Steelhead Harvest Analysis Data 91968 to 2002)

PDF version (41KB PDF, opens in new browser window)

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Quatam River Watershed (Ramsay Arm) Map

Map: Quatam River Watershed

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BREM RIVER WATERSHED
Brem River Watershed Details
Brem River Map Code: 900357900
3rd Order
Wild Stock Trend: Declining (Based on Keogh)
Wild Stock Status: Special Concern
Class: Wild
Recent Steelhead Escapements: <50 Combined summer and winter runs, not assessed
Angling Regulations: Steelhead Catch and Release Fishery
Very high catches in 1970s - light recent reported effort, potential heli-angling out of Campbell River and Powell River. Fishable Length is low to Medium - Remote Access by boat/float plane to camp at mouth
Mean annual effort:

Long term 1968-1996: 84/ Recent 1997-2001: 10 rod-days
Best 5 years 1968,70,73,75,76 mean annual effort: 227 rod-days

Mean Annual catch: (Catch and effort estimates at these low levels in the surveys are unreliable.) Light to moderate effort by local loggers (when active) and heli-fishing out of Campbell River - guided and unguided. Fishable length is quite high but access to upper waters for a visiting angler is difficult without a means of transportation.

Estimated Steelhead Capacity as Returning Adults (assuming 13% marine survival)

  • Not available - system had reported catches historically in excess of 200 adults

EXISTING HABITAT

  • 13.5 km accessible length, low productivity.
  • Active logging. Channel instability, bank erosion, and sediment transport.

HABITAT RESTORATION TO DATE

  • Considerable up slope stabilization as a part of WRP.

SPECIAL HABITAT PROTECTION REQUIREMENTS:

  • Requires environmentally sensitive logging practices with particular emphasis on road standards and cut blocks on steep slopes in headwater reaches.
  • Protect habitats to minimize future restoration requirements and costs.

STEELHEAD OBJECTIVES AND STRATEGIES

  • Develop cost-effective system of monitoring steelhead stock abundance and timing plus habitat condition on a regular basis.
  • Identify and prioritize recovery opportunities, initiate, complete, and evaluate results.
  • Involve logging contractor (if available) in developing a steelhead monitoring system.
  • Check enrichment potential with water sampling

NOTES: Historically one of the better steelhead systems in the area however very high catches in 197os could have led to the collapse in the 1980s. Restoration potential lessened by high access costs, local logging contractors reported to be not operating in 2002.

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Brem River Watershed Adult Assessment

Chart: Brem River Catch and Effort Steelhead Harvest Analysis Data (1968 to 2002)

PDF version (41KB PDF, opens in new browser window)

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Brem River Watershed Map

Map: Brem River 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