Event Title

Biophysical Baseline Monitoring of the Skwelwil’em Estuary Restoration in Squamish, British Columbia/ Juvenile Chinook Accessing a Segregated Estuary

Streaming Media

Presentation Abstract

The Skwelwil’em estuary in Squamish provides important habitat for chinook salmon smolts prior to their ocean migration. Estuarine diking has resulted in barriers for chinook to access the estuary from the river and has altered critical processes that contribute towards a healthy functioning estuary. The most significant dike was installed in the 1970’s that channelized five kilometers of river mainstem where it enters Howe Sound. This “training berm” was built to accommodate a coal port that was ultimately not developed, however it remains to this day. The Squamish River Watershed Society along with DFO and the Squamish Nation have embarked on a multi-year restoration project with the goal to improve chinook survival through culvert replacement and partial removal of the lower 1-2km of the training berm to reconnect approximately 300ha of flood plain habitat. Two years of monitoring for this project provide a baseline to evaluate changes in ecosystem services to chinook salmon from restoration. This project targets the sensitive early life stage when chinook are navigating from river to estuary to access the appropriate water quality, forage opportunities, and refuge to promote growth and survival. It is expected the same tidal connections that improve access for chinook to the estuary will also improve habitat and water quality conditions for rearing and smolting. This presentation will provide details of the metrics being monitored and their rationale, along with results from the first two years of sampling. Lessons learned and recommendations will also be discussed.

Session Title

Restoring Connectivity in Estuaries and Floodplains of the Salish Sea

Conference Track

Shorelines, Estuaries & Rivers

Conference Name

Salish Sea Ecosystem Conference (2020 : Online)

Document Type

Event

SSEC Identifier

2020_abstractID_4672

Start Date

21-4-2020 9:00 AM

End Date

22-4-2020 4:45 PM

Genre/Form

conference proceedings; presentations (communicative events)

Subjects – Topical (LCSH)

Estuarine area conservation--British Columbia--Squamish River Estuary; Ecosystem management--British Columbia--Squamish Region; Environmental monitoring--British Columbia--Squamish Region

Geographic Coverage

Salish Sea (B.C. and Wash.); Squamish (B.C.)

Rights

Copying of this document in whole or in part is allowable only for scholarly purposes. It is understood, however, that any copying or publication of this document for commercial purposes, or for financial gain, shall not be allowed without the author's written permission.

Type

Text

Language

English

Format

application/pdf

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Apr 21st, 9:00 AM Apr 22nd, 4:45 PM

Biophysical Baseline Monitoring of the Skwelwil’em Estuary Restoration in Squamish, British Columbia/ Juvenile Chinook Accessing a Segregated Estuary

The Skwelwil’em estuary in Squamish provides important habitat for chinook salmon smolts prior to their ocean migration. Estuarine diking has resulted in barriers for chinook to access the estuary from the river and has altered critical processes that contribute towards a healthy functioning estuary. The most significant dike was installed in the 1970’s that channelized five kilometers of river mainstem where it enters Howe Sound. This “training berm” was built to accommodate a coal port that was ultimately not developed, however it remains to this day. The Squamish River Watershed Society along with DFO and the Squamish Nation have embarked on a multi-year restoration project with the goal to improve chinook survival through culvert replacement and partial removal of the lower 1-2km of the training berm to reconnect approximately 300ha of flood plain habitat. Two years of monitoring for this project provide a baseline to evaluate changes in ecosystem services to chinook salmon from restoration. This project targets the sensitive early life stage when chinook are navigating from river to estuary to access the appropriate water quality, forage opportunities, and refuge to promote growth and survival. It is expected the same tidal connections that improve access for chinook to the estuary will also improve habitat and water quality conditions for rearing and smolting. This presentation will provide details of the metrics being monitored and their rationale, along with results from the first two years of sampling. Lessons learned and recommendations will also be discussed.