Further improvement of the river habitat for Coho salmon and cutthroat is a key element of a new project underway on a section of Colquitz Creek in Copley East Park in Saanich.
But it’s just as important to give the community more opportunities to participate in this work, says biologist Brian Koval, who leads the project for the Peninsula Streams Society with his biologist David Clough.
“It’s a place loved to death,” says Koval, noting that many visitors enjoy spending time by the creek’s edge and even practicing yoga in this wooded area in the Northridge neighborhood. “But [the activity has] have trampled the ground so far that plants can no longer grow back. “
The project, which is being carried out on an 80-meter stretch of stream downstream from last year’s restoration work, includes various elements.
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The river’s habitat is restored by adding new rock ridges with spawning gravel and anchoring large rocks and debris to protect the river’s banks from erosion. Compacted clay soil is broken up and healthy, clean soil is added to allow native plants to grow, another buffer against erosion. The newly planted area is protected with a split railing fence that is installed between the path and the stream.
Not only will the plants help reduce contaminants entering the stream, Koval says, but insects on the plants will also fall into the water, providing a source of food for young salmon fry.
While the project has technical aspects, Koval says neighborhood volunteers are welcome to help with planting and other labor-intensive tasks.
“We went door to door and distributed brochures that let people know what the project was about and encourage them to be part of the project,” he says.
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The combination of the last and this year’s project will create around 200 meters of continuous, high-quality habitat for salmon. Although it can’t compete with Goldstream Park this fall, it still gives residents and children the opportunity to see nature in action right in their own garden, says Koval.
Access to this area of the park will be restricted during the restoration works, which will last until August 14th.
Project 2020 is a partnership between the Society, the District of Saanich, the Pacific Salmon Foundation and the Freshwater Fisheries Society of BC. approx.
Saanich district salmon stocks