Greater Georgia Basin Steelhead Recovery PlanWatersheds
Greater Georgia Basin Steelhead Recovery PlanSteelhead RecoveryThe CrisisWatershedsHabitat RestorationLiving Gene BankStock Assessment

Current Events & Recent News
Donate / Contact Us
Photo Gallery
Links
Feedback
Home
Site Map
Slideshow
Articles

Region 1 Map Region 2 Map Region 1 Map Region 2 Map

The Steelhead Review Newsletter

Get involved with Steelhead Recovery in your watershed

Click to download GGBSRP brochure
Download
Brochure

(1.5MB PDF)


LOWER MAINLAND (REGION 2):
FOCUS WATERSHEDS
Kanaka | Stave | Norrish
Chehalis |
Salmon | Chilliwack

Focus watersheds westFocus watersheds east

KANAKA CREEK WATERSHED
Kanaka Creek Watershed Details
Kanaka Creek Watershed Map Code: 10037400
3rd Order
Wild Stock Trend: Declined to a very low level
Wild Stock Status: Extreme Conservation Concern
Class: Augmented (Stocking suspended on account of lack of brood stock)
Recent Steelhead Escapements: <50 Winter Run
Angling Regulations: Wild Steelhead Catch and Release, area and time closures
Mean annual effort: Long term 1968-1996: 468 / Recent 1997-2001: 114 Best 5 years 1989 -1993 mean annual effort: 982 rod-days per annum
Mean Annual catch: Long term 1968-1996: 115 / Recent 1997-2001: 20 Very limited steelhead fishing waters

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

  • 400 smolts/ 52 adults Ptolemy 2002 SHA analysis, only 2km is useful parr habitat
Existing Habitat:
 
Watershed area (km2):
47.7
  Comments
Mean Annual Discharge (m3/s):
2.8
  GVRD park. Urbanization along 34% of length - 900 septic systems. August/September demand is 21% of natural summer 7-day mean flow. Sedimentation concerns from active and abandoned gravel pits. Additional water quality concerns including ammonia, heavy metals, low PH all exceed guidelines. Biomass 140g/unit
Summer Base Flow (% MAD)
8.5%
 
Accessible length (km):
5.5
 
Productivity:
Moderate
 

SPECIAL HABITAT PROTECTION REQUIREMENTS

  • Implement recommendations from the Kanaka Creek Recovery Plan (Sensitive Stream Designation)
  • Urbanization and water quality impacts need to be addressed
  • Gravel pit impacts need to be addressed.

HABITAT RESTORATION TO DATE

  • Off-channel work sponsored by DFO at Kanaka facility

STEELHEAD OBJECTIVES AND STRATEGIES

  • Recover stocks sufficiently to allow for angling opportunities on other species and steelhead in stronger years.
  • Investigate feasibility of introducing another stock for angling opportunities if native stock can no longer be viable.
  • Consider angling regulation changes to better protect steelhead spawners.

IDENTIFIED RECOVERY OPTIONS

  • Stocking from another system and convert to hatchery status
  • Create additional habitat capability for natural production (very limited)

NOTES: Very large historical catches may have been passing stocks in the tidal influence zone. GVRD sponsored community hatchery on system, heavy angler use for other species impacts on regulatory options for steelhead.

top

Kanaka Creek Watershed Adult Assessment

Chart: Kanaka Creek Catch and Effort Steelhead Harvest Analysis Data (1968 to 2002)

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

top

Kanaka Creek Watershed Map

Map: Kanaka Creek Watershed

top

STAVE RIVER WATERSHED
Stave River Watershed Details
Stave River Watershed Map Code: 100047100
5th Order
Wild Stock Trend: Hatchery Out plant, no native stock (some unmarked catch reported
Class Hatchery (Approx 10k smolts/yr ongoing from Abbotsford Hatchery)
Recent Steelhead Escapements: Not Assessed
Angling Regulations: Marked Steelhead Retention Fishery - Wild catch and release

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

  • Undefined - very limited over short length below dam
Existing Habitat:
 
Watershed area (km2):
1140
  Comments
Mean Annual Discharge (m3/s):
111
  Stave power project cuts off most natural habitat.
High summer flows, poor parr habitat (almost no cover) and unnatural ramping rates.
16% of watershed has been logged creating impacts on natural hydrology
Biomass < 80 g/unit
Summer Base Flow (% MAD)
>100%
 
Accessible length (km):
32
 
Productivity:
Very low
 

HABITAT RESTORATION TO DATE

  • BC Hydro WUP plan - off-channel habitat work for other salmon species

STEELHEAD OBJECTIVES AND STRATEGIES

  • Provide an angling opportunity on hatchery fish to take pressure off other systems
  • Manage downstream flows to allow for safe angling and some potential for natural production

NOTES: Good fishery in 2000 - about half the effort in 2001. Several unmarked fish reported in catch. Hatchery female fish from Chilliwack crossed with wild males. Incubated at Abbotsford, reared to smolt at Inch Creek. High rate of hatchery release in 2000 fishery.

top

Stave River Watershed Adult Assessment

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

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

top

Stave River Watershed Map

Map: Stave River Watershed

top

NORRISH (SUICIDE) CREEK WATERSHED
Norrish (Suicide) Creek Watershed Details
Norrish (Suicide) Creek Watershed Map Code: 100064000
4th Order
Wild Stock Trend: Unknown - likely declined to a low level
Wild Stock Status: Special Concern
Class Wild (Augmented 90 - 92, discontinued)
Recent Steelhead Escapements: Not Assessed Wild Winter Run
Angling Regulations: Catch and Release of Wild Steelhead

Estimated Steelhead Smolt Capacity & Returning Adults:

  • Undetermined

EXISTING HABITAT

  • Flashy system, natural summer 7-day mean low flow is 14% of Mean Annual Discharge (MAD), 5 km accessible length, and relatively unproductive system.
  • Habitat protection has been extremely difficult. Gravel accumulation and bed stability problematic. Chronic problems with an inadequate opening at the CPR bridge crossing. Major water supply for Fraser valley - August water demand is 26% of MAD - low flows have caused fish kills in the past as portions of creek bed go dry. Slide and turbidity problems present, placer mining in area of creek.

HABITAT RESTORATION TO DATE

  • Limited work done to mitigate flood control activities

SPECIAL HABITAT PROTECTION REQUIREMENTS

  • Negotiate with the CPR for a comprehensive gravel- and bridge-flow-through rehabilitation and management plan.

STEELHEAD OBJECTIVES AND STRATEGIES

  • Examine regulatory options with respect to angling activity in the watershed and sloughs downstream to give increased protection to steelhead adults and parr.
  • Investigate enrichment feasibility downstream of water intake.

NOTES: The railway bridge needs to be lengthened to provide for less constriction of the flood plain and to reduce the need for annual gravel removal. DFO has negotiated increased summer low flow releases from Dickson Lake reservoir. Still receives angling pressure.

top

Norrish (Suicide) Creek Watershed Adult Assessment

Chart: Norrish Creek Catch and Effort Steelhead Harvest Analysis Data (1968 to 2002)

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

top

Norrish (Suicide) Creek Watershed Juvenile Assessment

Norrish Creek downstream view © BCCFNorrish Creek upstream view © BCCF

top

Norrish (Suicide) Creek Watershed Map

Map: Norrish (Suicide) Creek Watershed

top

CHEHALIS RIVER WATERSHED
Chehalis River Watershed Details
Chehalis River Map Code: 110090200
5th Order
Wild (unmarked) Stock Trend: Relatively Stable
Wild Stock Status: Routine Management Zone
Class: Augmented (High Level 40k winter run smolts, 1984/85-ongoing 25k summer run smolts, Coquihalla origin, 1993 - ongoing)
Recent Steelhead Escapements: 200 - 500 Wild Winter Run, Significant Summer Run (Hatchery Origin)
Angling Status: Major Steelhead Fishery - 2nd most heavily fished in the region
Angling Regulations: Catch and Release of Wild Fish - Hy SH daily quota, spring closure for smolt protection May 1 to May 31
Mean annual effort: Long term 1968-1996: 3,558 / Recent 1997-2001: 6,937 rod-days
Best 5 years 1991, 93-96 mean annual effort: 9,750 rod-days
Mean Annual catch: Long term 1968-1996: 1,098 / Recent 1997-2000: 1,909

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

  • Approx 6000 smolts/700 adults (based on a regional review of existing information).
  • Conservation Concern Level @ 30% of capacity is approx. 210 adults
Existing Habitat:
 
Watershed area (km2):
383
  Comments
Mean annual discharge (m3/s):
40.5
  Sediment problems, 32% of watershed has been logged, laterally and vertically unstable system resulting in channel changes on its fan, low summer flows - subsurface flows during low periods in aggregated areas, limited accessible area biomass 90 g/unit:, parr habitat limited by few large woody debris and boulder reach extent
accessible length (km):
20
 
Productivity:
Low
 

SPECIAL HABITAT PROTECTION REQUIREMENTS

  • Provide adequate habitat protection especially with respect to rate of cut in headwaters and logging in riparian zones and in land disturbance leading to sedimentation and flow regime changes in headwaters.
  • Provide full protection to sensitive areas in the flood plain.

STEELHEAD OBJECTIVES AND STRATEGIES

  • Maintain status quo with respect to fishery and winter run hatchery stocking as long as wild stocks are at healthy levels, consider limiting rod days through regulation changes and scaling back or re-deploying augmentation elsewhere to reduce impacts on wild fish.
  • Maintain augmentation and resulting summer fishery based on introduced Coquihalla summer run fish (and Chinook) continuing to give priority to the needs of the Coquihalla system itself. (See Coquihalla Summary. Summer run could be augmented by using hatchery and unmarked summer fish returning to the Chehalis.)
  • Undertake habitat restoration to improve pool habitats in addition to pools in canyon area
  • Provide additional spawning gravel and off-channel rearing.
  • Foster stewardship groups and local FN to assist in protection

IDENTIFIED RECOVERY OPTIONS

  • Install large wood and pools in lower river below bridge.
  • Implement an annual stream enrichment program using slow release fertilizer and carcasses from the hatchery.
  • Construct a 1-km long side channel at Bentley Creek.

NOTES: Major Federal Chehalis Hatchery and Weaver Creek spawning channel in watershed. Many years ago, the Nature Trust acquired a significant parcel of land in the lower river for habitat protection.

top

Chehalis River Watershed Adult Assessment

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

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

top

Chehalis River Watershed Map

Map: Chehalis River Watershed

top

SALMON RIVER WATERSHED
Salmon River Watershed (Langley) Details
Salmon River Map Code: 100038800
4th Order
Wild Stock Trend: Declined to Low Level, Fluctuating
Wild Stock Status: Special Concern
Class: Wild
Recent Wild Steelhead Escapements: Not Assessed Winter Run
Angling Regulations: Wild Steelhead Catch and Release

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

  • 1,900 smolts/ 250 adults based on actual smolt counts less an allowance for pump losses.
  • Conservation Concern Level @ 30% of capacity is approx. 75 adults
Existing Habitat:
 
Watershed area (km2):
47.7
  Comments
Mean annual discharge (m3/s):
1.82
  Summer base flows somewhat below 20% of mean annual discharge. Serious water quality concerns above established guidelines for nutrients, ammonia, fecal coliform, nitrate, nitrite, phosphorus, and water temperatures. High nutrient impacts coming from agricultural wastes - extremely high total alkalinity 42.8 mg/l, pumping station impacts smolts - estimated loss approx. 25%, extensive urbanization in watershed, golf course development. Potential limited by extent of boulder reaches for parr habitat. Biomass: 490 g/unit
Summer Base Flow (%MAD):
15%
 
Accessible length (km):
15
 
Productivity:
Very High
 

HABITAT RESTORATION TO DATE

  • Planting in riparian zones

SPECIAL HABITAT PROTECTION REQUIREMENTS:

  • Reduce nutrient inputs by working with farm community.
  • Provide improved protection from urban sprawl and agricultural activities.
  • Foster efforts to develop an improved protection plan for lower river that is subject to flooding and mitigate impacts on smolts from pump stations

STEELHEAD OBJECTIVES AND STRATEGIES

  • Establish steelhead run size and updated productive potential of the system.
  • Foster efforts to constitute a river conservation authority to develop a management plan, coordinate efforts to protect and rehabilitate habitats and set protection standards for other developments.

NOTES: Fence Counts from 1978-1980, 1987 - 1995. Good fishery in 2001, prior to that not much reported. This is one of the most seriously impacted groundwater areas in the Fraser Valley. A local watershed group has been in place for some time with support from DFO and the Fraser Basin Council. Long-term DFO index site for coho - some limited possibility of indexing steelhead if run strength is adequate. (Fence does not operate during adult steelhead migration.)

top

Salmon River Watershed (Langley) Adult Assessment

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

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

top

Salmon River Watershed (Langley) Map

Map: Salmon River Watershed

top

CHILLIWACK (VEDDER) RIVER WATERSHED
Chilliwack (Vedder) River Watershed Details
Chilliwack River Map Code: 100065700
5 th Order
Wild (Unmarked) Stock Trend: Stable
Wild Stock Status: Routine Management
Class: Augmented (125k smolts, 1973 to date, DFO hatchery)
Recent Wild Steelhead Escapements: >2000 Winter Run
Angling Status: Largest Steelhead Fishery in BC
Angling Regulations: Catch and Release of Wild Fish, HY daily quota of one fish, area closures, restricted to fly fishing in lower river (below Vedder Crossing) late in season while river above is closed.
Mean annual effort:

Long term 1968-1996: 32,754 / Recent 1997-2001: 43,720 Best 5 years 1987-89, 93,95 mean annual effort: 60,331 rod-days. Very high stable effort in the past five years, very crowded at times

Mean Annual catch: Long term 1968-1996: 10,087/ Recent 1997-2001: 13,554

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

  • 4000 adults (based on a review of several reports and models using updated conditions.)
  • Conservation Concern Level @ 30% of capacity is approx. 1200 adults
Existing Habitat:
 
Watershed area (km2):
1230
  Comments
Mean annual discharge (m3/s):
67.3
  Ideal summer base flows. Urbanization and flood control/riparian encroachment impacts in lower reaches below Vedder Crossing, gravel removal impacts, loss of SH habitat downstream of Slesse Creek (LWD removal and bank protection works for flood control), excessive channelization, turbidity and sediment input from naturally occurring clay slides, 29% of watershed has been logged. Biomass 318 g/unit
Summer Base Flow (%MAD):
20%
 
accessible length (km):
60
 
productivity:
high
 

 

HABITAT RESTORATION TO DATE

  • A very extensive suite of more than 16 off-channel projects have been completed in the last few years through cooperative efforts with WRP, DFO etc. They are mainly salmon orientated but with steelhead rearing and spawning benefits; gravel placement at outlet of Chilliwack Lake; approx. 60 LWD placements.

STEELHEAD OBJECTIVES AND STRATEGIES

  • Maintain wild stocks at approx. 2000 adult return or greater and manage for a fishery based on augmentation at approximately 40,000 rod-days per annum.
  • Establish a river conservation authority to develop a management plan that would rehabilitate damaged habitats and provide an improved protection plan (particularly below Vedder Crossing) by reducing dyking encroachments, opening up channels in the floodplain, stopping vehicle impacts on riparian areas, purchasing key parcels and more creative management of gravel removal operations.
  • Implement a watching brief on wild stock levels through a comprehensive stock assessment program that would allow for regulatory adjustments if necessary.
  • If necessary, consider reducing augmentation or redirecting some stocking to other systems to protect wild stocks and spread effort.

IDENTIFIED RECOVERY OPTIONS

  • Lower river main stem pool creation with very well anchored large wood or heavy substitutes.
  • Gravel placement and side-channel improvements in Foley Creek (spawning limited).
  • New side channel potential on Tamahi Creek - approx 2.5 km $500K.
  • Selective annual stream enrichment (as required depending on pink and chum escapements).

NOTES: This is one of the most complex rivers in the province from a habitat protection standpoint - many jurisdictions and competing land and water uses. Major federal hatchery provides comprehensive enhancement of coho, pink, chum, chinook, and steelhead.

top

Chilliwack (Vedder) River Watershed Adult Assessment

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

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

top

Chilliwack (Vedder) River Watershed Map

Map: Chilliwack River Watershed & Focus Area

Media

Chilliwack Times, October 10, 2003
Fish used to save fish by Robyn Chambers (579KB PDF, opens in new browser window)

top

© 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